Obituaries

Geoff Davis

2nd August 1940 - 17th July 2013

An edited version of the tribute given by Revd Michael Moore at Geoff’s funeral

Geoff was a Peterborian. He was born in the house that he lived in all of his life and, sadly, he died in the same house too. He died on the same day of the year as his partner, Hazel, who died back in 2009 and whom he had been with for some 40 years.

Geoff had mumps as a child and so he had to wear glasses. He wanted to work on the railways when he was older but sadly failed the medical because of his eyesight. In his early years he worked for the Co-op as a milkman and one day, when he was late getting back to base, he overturned the milk cart in Bridge Street. Milk was everywhere!

Geoff then worked at Perkins’s as a machinist but did not like it, so he then got a job at Milton Golf club where he worked for over 30 years, becoming head green keeper. He loved this job because he was with nature. He loved seeing the wildlife and birds. Ken, Geoff’s brother, said that the foxes would follow him around the course. He also had (I was told) a small side-line in selling golf balls, that he found in the rough or from fishing them out of the ponds.

When Geoff retired from green keeping he kept the snooker table baize well ironed and in tip-top condition for the snooker players at the Con Club.

Geoff enjoyed a pint, and the glass he drank out of had to have a handle on it. Legend has it that he got the Con Club to put ‘Bishops Farewell’ back on tap and, in recognition of this, he felt he had to enlist all the ringers to help keep the sales up (they duly obliged!). At Geoff’s wake this local brew was temporarily renamed as ‘Geoff’s Farewell’.

Geoff was a generous man. He organised monthly meals out for those alone at church. He would go and vet if the food and beer was all right and that the access was good. He organised concert trips, would pick anyone up and take them wherever they wanted to go. And, he would look after them too.

Geoff loved his food and many of us here have lovely stories about Geoff and Andrew Christie told me this one:

“In the first summer I knew him, back in 1980, Geoff roped me in for ten quarter peals in a day and off we went with a core band consisting of Andrew and Mick Parker and then additional ringers helped at various towers. By the time we got to lunchtime we had rung four quarters and stopped at the Oak in Castor for lunch. Here, he first showed me the art of stacking a plate at a buffet lunch, where the cost was just £2 per plate. I have the picture in my mind to this day of how he stacked his plate with such precision. Then, when he sat down, out came the tomatoes from his pocket as he was worried that they might have rolled off.

A few years later, a pizza chain started offering salad bowls at a reasonable price but these were bit on the weenie side. However, with Geoff’s experience in the art of loading up a dish, he used water melon wedges on the outer rim of the bowl to help extend the size and then did an amazing job of stacking high! … and, of course, the tomatoes were in his pocket!”

Geoff was a bellringer for over 60 years and for many of those the tower captain of St Mary’s. He also served as Branch Ringing Master in the early 1980s. It is estimated that he rang 1,000+ quarter peals and central records suggest that he had rung 33 peals.

Geoff was a man of fun and his bellringing friends knew how infectious his laugh was, especially when attempting something new and it was contagious!

Joan Parker said that, sitting next to him in a pub, meant you had bruised ribs because, if it was funny, he would nudge and nudge you and laugh and laugh.

I was given six pages of stories about Geoff and, in every one, it showed how people around him loved him.

Geoff loved a good pint of beer. Geoff loved to help those around him. Geoff loved his food. He was an accomplished green keeper. He was a dedicated member at St Mary’s and loyal bellringer. He was a good man and knew his need of God.

He will be missed.

We celebrate his life and give thanks to God for those memories that we have of Geoff.

Amen.

 

The following performances were rung in celebration of Geoff’s life:

PETERBOROUGH D.G.
PETERBOROUGH, Cambs, St Mary
Sat Aug 24 2013 2h48 (9)
5056 Cambridge S Major
Comp. Johnson’s var of Middleton’s
1 J Alex Dyer
2 Judith M Rogers
3 Robin H Rogers
4 Elaine M Wilkinson
5 Andrew M H Christie
6 Raymond H Daw
7 Andrew J Parker (C)
8 W John Riley
Rung in celebration of the life of
Geoff Davis, ringer and loyal member
of St Mary’s for over 60 years.
1st peal: 4.

Peterborough, Cambs. (Cathedral) 21 Jul, 1280 PB Major: Robin Rogers 1, Elaine Wilkinson 2, Stuart Weston 3, Andrew Christie 4, Alex Dyer 5, Nick Elks 6, Mick Smith 7, John Riley (C) 8. For Evensong and in remembrance of Geoff Davis, who died this past week aged 72. A good friend, ringer for 60 years, Ringing Master at St Mary’s Peterborough, wonderful character with infectious laugh.

Peterborough, Cambs. (S Mary) 21 Jul, 1250 Cambridge S Major: Alex Dyer 1, Joan Parker 2, Sue Parker 3, Diana Street 4, Andrew Christie 5, Sue Jones 6, Derek Jones 7, Andrew Parker (C) 8. Rung half muffled in memory of the life of Geoff Davis, Ringing Master at St Mary’s and dedicated bellringer for over 60 years. A true character who loved and lived life to the full.

Peterborough, Cambs. (S Mary) 22 Jul, 1260 St John’s Doubles: June Pitcher 1, Joan Parker 2, Alex Dyer 3, Elaine Wilkinson 4, Andrew Christie (C) 5, Nick Elks 6. Rung half-muffled in memory of Geoff Davis. First blows in m by the band.

Peterborough, Cambs. (S John the Baptist) 24 Jul 1344 PB Major: Daren Edwards 1, Elaine Wilkinson 2, Yvette Halewood 3, Andrew Christie 4, John Riley 5, Dan Kelly 6, James Thorpe 7, Nick Elks (C) 8. Rung in memoriam Geoff Davis, a prominent ringer in Peterborough over the last 60 years. Also in celebration of the birth of HRH Prince George of Cambridge.

Peterborough, Cambs. (S Mary) 28 Jul, 1260 April Day Doubles: Elaine Wilkinson 1, Joan Parker 2, June Pitcher 3, Marilyn Jenner 4, Stuart Weston (C) 5, Nick Elks 6. Rung in celebration of the contribution that Geoff Davis gave to St Mary’s. Jim and Christine Benner wish to be associated with this Q. Also remembering Elisa Ager who died on 25/07/2013 at just 41 and good friend of Elaine.

Castor, Cambs. 29 Jul, 1260 Grandsire Doubles: Steve Reed 1, Maggie Noble 2, Stuart Weston (C) 3, Michael Kennedy 4, William Baxter 5, Roy Hibbard 6. To celebrate the life of Geoff Davis, and with gratitude for all his support for St Kyneburgha’s bell ringers and the Saturday morning training sessions.

Peterborough, Cambs. (S Mary) 31 Jul, 1260 Rev Canterbury & PB Doubles: Joyce Smith 1, Maggie Noble 2, Tom Stevenson 3, Tony Evans 4, Andrew Christie (C) 5, Simon Ellis 6. Rung on the eve of Geoff Davis’ funeral. Ringer for 60 years and life time member of St Mary’s. Pamela Pohling-Brown wishes to be associated with this Q in fond memory.

Peterborough, Cambs. (S Mary) 1 Aug, 1280 Cambridge S Major: Robin Rogers 1, Yvette Halewood 2, Wendy Daw 3, Elaine Wilkinson 4, Diana Street 5, Nick Elks 6, Raymond H Daw (C) 7, W John Riley 8. Rung immediately after the funeral service, in fond memory of Geoff Davis, former Tower Captain at this church. Vic and Dorothy Chamberlain wish to be associated with this Q, a good friend over many years. 1st in m: 6.

£BD

BB BellBoard
CC
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers