Obituaries

Elizabeth Guy

1929 - 2013

Elizabeth Roe, as she then was, learnt to ring when she went to Oxford to study Maths in 1948. She was taught by Ewart Edge, and two lifelong friends who were with her at St Hilda’s College, Renate Buchthal and Pat Wareham, also learnt to ring. OUS ringing was thriving at this period. “The general experience was that those recruits who did not quickly drop away usually made good progress.” (John Spice, 1979) This was certainly the case as far as Elizabeth was concerned. She rang her first quarter peal in October 1949 and her first peal in March 1950. These were both rung on church bells, but her second peal – which she conducted – was Bob Minor in hand, rung just six days after the first.

These were followed by numerous quarters – mostly Doubles or Minor – and a good number of peals, many in hand. These included Peter Border’s first peal of Royal, which was also his first in hand, and a peal of 5220 Spliced Royal conducted by Michael Slaney rung on 9th November 1951 which was the first peal of spliced for the band and for the OUS, and the greatest number of methods then spliced in a peal of Royal – five! Handbell ringing took place in various settings – including in punts on the river – and towers round Oxford provided variety. Getting between towers was usually a question of cycling, so it was an energetic business and Elizabeth continued to enjoy cycling for many years afterwards.

As well as ringing with the OUS, Elizabeth rang in her home village of Gayton in Northamptonshire. Here she rang with a group of slightly younger boys who – like her – were enthusiastic ringers. One of the local ringers was an undertaker, and the keen young ringers were taken round to meetings and practices in the area in the hearse. A peal of Doubles at Alderton in 1951, conducted by Ivor Dicken (aged 15), was rung as a farewell to Elizabeth whose family were leaving the district. The other ringers were aged 15, 14, and 13.

In June 1951 a proposed CUG ringing tour to Warwickshire looked in danger of being cancelled because too few people could go. So members of the OUS were invited to swell the numbers. The significance of this is that it was on this ringing tour – which involved camping, but not cycling – that Elizabeth met Robin Guy, in a campsite near Rowington.

On leaving Oxford, Elizabeth taught in Sevenoaks for a while, before marrying Robin in 1953 and moving to Coventry. For the next few years, Elizabeth did very little ringing while her children were growing up. The family moved from Coventry to Corley Moor, then to Draycott, near Derby, and then again to Southport. It was here that she started ringing again regularly at Emmanuel, where her children – Joan, Catherine, and Patrick – learnt to ring. Meetings – with amazing Lancashire hotpot – were attended, and new friends were made amongst the Southport and Preston ringers.

Then in 1972 Robin and Elizabeth bought a house near Leek in Staffordshire and started ringing at the parish church in Leek. They helped to teach a band of young ringers and – again – Elizabeth was involved in encouraging these aspiring youngsters. The peals she rang during the 1970s are full of firsts: Plain Bob Major in 1976, three first peals and two firsts in the method; 7 Surprise Minor in 1977, first in 7 Surprise Minor for all except the conductor; Plain Bob Royal in 1977, first on 10 for five of the ringers. It was a good time. Excellent progress was made with the ringing, and the social side of things – always an important part of ringing for Elizabeth – was great fun. It included cooking Staffordshire oatcakes in the belfry on a primus, and going to the pub with a young Robert Chadburn who insisted on asking for milk.

From the late 1970s onwards Elizabeth went on a good number of ringing outings and holidays, with the Leek ringers, with the UA, and with groups of friends from Lancashire and elsewhere. This was one of her favourite pastimes, combining ringing with visiting new places, and giving endless opportunities to chat! She had a truly enquiring mind, and found much to look at and remark on in all the various churches visited, as well as so much enjoying the company of friends.

In 1978 Robin and Elizabeth made their last move to Clifton-upon-Dunsmore in Warwickshire. Here the five bells had not been rung for about 20 years. They both became involved in getting work done to make the bells safe, and then recruiting a band of ringers. Here, again, Elizabeth’s energy and organisational ability came to the fore, and by 1986 the money had been raised to install a new treble. She rang in the first peal on the new six in 1992, with a local band, and the first peal of Minor on the bells in 1996. She was also involved from the outset with the newly created Rugby Deanery branch of the Coventry Guild.

This was another very active time in Elizabeth’s life, with many ringing events to be organised. It was a time of garden open days (involving mini rings, maypole dancing, barbecues, beer tents and brass bands), Rugby Deanery parties at the village hall (which entailed masked sketches, silly games and good food), ringers’ New Year parties (including more silly games and wonderful food) and ringing outings with the Clifton and Rugby ringers (which always involved a picnic, and usually a pub supper).

Elizabeth’s last peal was rung in Clifton in 1997, on the 50th anniversary of Robin’s first peal. She continued to ring until her illness in the last few years made it difficult for her, but even when she wasn’t able to ring, she enjoyed coming to the belfry at Clifton for the company and conversation. She is remembered very fondly by many ringers and others who benefited from her encouragement and enthusiasm and enjoyed her company.

CATHERINE JAMIESON

 

Coventry, W Mids. (Cathedral) 11 Aug, 1287 Stedman Caters: Ruth M Border 1, Joy Pluckrose 2, Annie Hall 3, G Pratt 4, G W Randall 5, B Kimpton 6, M W Sayers 7, C F Mew (C) 8, M Angrave 9, A Alldrick 10. Rung in fond memory of Elizabeth Guy of Clifton-upon-Dunsmore.

Rugby, Warks. 18 Aug, 1264 PB Major: Christine F Homer (C) 1, Diana Butcher 2, Julian G Edgson 3, Catherine Jamieson 4, A E Gillias (Mayor of Rugby) 5, Mike Bennett 6, Anthony G Osborne 7, John E Goddard 8. Rung in memory of Elizabeth Guy who died 5 August 2013. At one time a regular visitor to this tower.

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Central Council of Church Bell Ringers