16th September 1953 - 14th October 2013

Susan Levers was introduced to the art at St Peter’s church, Ash, Surrey, in her early teens, by her best friend Marilyn Reay. Homework was often completed in the corner of the tower, at times with assistance from the more senior members. Being one of a number of school aged ringers, Sue became a member of the Farnham Grammar School bellringing society, providing bells for various school events such as carol services, and practising at Farnham or Crondall churches.

During the 1960s the friends travelled to district meetings and local practice nights, sometimes having a lift from other tower members, sometimes by a shuttle service on the back of a motorbike driven by Marilyn’s husband-to-be, Roland Backhurst. There was quite a group of young ringers at Ash then, more girls than boys, and this was the swinging sixties. The girls invented the ‘Ash Love In’, which consisted of surrounding some unsuspecting male at an event like a District Meeting and giving him a group hug. Victims included Tom Page, Charlie Denyer, Roy Collins and ‘cuddly Dudley’ Elsmore, among others. They never tried it on Major Bragg though – he was much too scary! Sue would later learn that this was not the case, when he became her father in law.

Although Sue never rang a peal, the first of a number of quarter peals was rung in 1970.

Sue married Jamie Bragg in 1975 and, for a while, was driven to her job running the record department at W. H. Smith in Guildford by husband Jamie’s uncle, Charlie Denyer, then Editor of The Ringing World. This was ideal employment, as reading and music were both lifelong pleasures for Sue.

Not long after the birth of her daughter in 1977 Sue was diagnosed as having the early stages of Multiple Sclerosis. Despite gradually increasing mobility problems, she learned to drive and continued to take part in practice nights at Ash, as well as Sunday morning ringing. For a number of years this was coupled with going straight to Seale to augment the then struggling band for the 11am service, and to support their practice evenings. Despite medical advice, four more children followed during the late 80s and early 90s, all of whom were taken to various towers from an early age and, ultimately, taught to handle a bell.

Stubbornly refusing to give in to her condition and never complaining about her plight, the band at Ash accommodated the decline in Sue’s balance by devising a form of stool, fixed to the wall behind the 4th, in which she was supported enabling her to continue her hobby, ringing for the new millennium and for a couple of years into the 2000s.

Eventually the climb up the tower stairs became too much for her, but she retained the position of tower treasurer for a further few years. Several protracted spells in hospital with broken limbs due to osteoporosis left her wheelchair bound, but did little to diminish her interest in ringing. She often filled her time writing out methods and coaching her children, being pleased over the years when Emily, Thirzah and Freddy rang their first quarter peals and sitting outside St Peter’s in 2007 to hear the end of Freddy’s first peal at the age of 13.

To add to her woes, Sue was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, to which she succumbed in October. After her funeral Ash tower was opened for her friends to ring in remembrance and a few rounds were managed on the 6th by her husband and five children.

J.B. and M.A.B.


BUTLEIGH, Som, St Leonard
Thu Oct 31 2013 3h9 (20)
5040 Grandsire Triples
Comp. J J Parker’s 12-part (7th obs)
1 Kaitlin Jarvis
2 Raymond Haines
3 Jane Hooker
4 Marilyn A Backhurst
5 Anna M P Piechna
6 Tobias B Dando
7 Brian V Mountjoy (C)
8 Roland C Backhurst
First peal, aged 12: 1.
Circled the tower: 2.
First in the method: 3.
Also in remembrance Susan Bragg of Ash, Surrey.

Ash, Surrey. 29 Oct, 1260 Grandsire Doubles: Emily Moore 1, Freddy Bragg (1st in m as C) 2, Marilyn Backhurst 3, Thirzah Bragg 4, Roland Backhurst 5, Jamie Bragg 6. Rung to celebrate the life of Susan Jane Bragg ringer at Ash 16th September 1953 – 14th October 2013, wife of 6 and mother of 1, 2 & 4. Charlie & Harriet Bragg wish to be associated with it.

Ash, Surrey. 30 Oct, 1260 PB Doubles: Sheila Taylor 1, Tony Beckton 2, Sue Green 3, John G Young (C) 4, Judith Parker 5, Jamie Bragg 6. Rung to celebrate the life of Susan Jane Bragg ringer at Ash, 16th September 1953 – 14th October 2013, wife of Jamie. Also for the Guild Quarter Peal month.

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