1916 - 2013

Peterborough Guild has lost its oldest member aged 97. The funeral of Leslie Witten took place at Thraptson, St James Church, on 19th December 2013. The eight bells rang half-muffled as the coffin entered the Church and also following the service.

Leslie was born in 1916 and attended Titchmarsh School after which he worked at Wadenhoe as a Farm Labourer, a Butcher Boy in Thrapston and a period at Thrapston gravel pit. Leslie then worked at Smith and Grace Engineers and Iron Founders in Thrapston for 42 years as a Turner on a giant lathe that turned pulley wheels up to 9 metres in diameter and weighing up to 6 tonnes!! In its shadow, a frightening experience, we enjoyed many discussions about ringing.

Leslie joined the Peterborough Guild in 1949; he became Thrapston Branch Ringing Master in 1952 and Branch Secretary from 1953 to 1962. Leslie rang six peals, the first at Wadenhoe in 1949 and the last at Titchmarch in 1953.

Leslie often helped me when I was learning to ring and in 1962 I took over from him as Secretary of Thrapston Branch and Leslie taught me all I knew in that role.

Peals took place at Wadenhoe for Leslie and Annie’s 60th and 70th Wedding Anniversaries and Leslie’s 90th Birthday at which he joined us, prior to the peal, for a faultless touch of Plain Bob Minor.


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