1932 - 2013

Anne Izzard (née Smith) passed away on 25th December aged 81 at Annandale Lodge Nursing Home, Bedford.

Anne was born in the Bedfordshire village of Chellington in 1932 and following her education firstly at the village school in Carlton and later at the Dame Alice Harpur School Bedford, she went on to become one of the first women police constables in Bedfordshire and the first policewoman in Kempston, where she walked the beat alone, armed only with her whistle.

Anne’s interest in ringing began shortly after her family moved to Kempston in the late 1940s. As a choir member and assistant organist and to reach the organ loft, Anne passed through the ringing room where she was frequently delayed by the younger male members of the local band. It will never be known for certain whether it was the charm of bell ringing or of a certain young ringer that led Anne to learn to ring but a romance between Anne and Cliff soon developed into a deep and lasting love.

Ringing featured strongly in their courtship as they, with the Bedfordshire Young Ringers, covered miles by bicycle visiting towers across the country from Gloucestershire to Essex, staying in Youth Hostels, which in those days were pretty basic. Anne and Cliff were married at Kempston in June 1956.

Anne remained a regular Sunday service ringer at Kempston for over 50 years until sadly ill health prevented her active involvement. Anne was elected to the Bedfordshire Association of Church Bell Ringers in January 1951 and became Bedford District Secretary in 1974, a post she held until 1981, organising meetings, ‘official’ ringer’s teas and impromptu suppers at her home in Box End Kempston.

She also played a key role in the rehanging of the bells at Kempston and augmentation to ten. Anne organised many fund-raising events including numerous stalls on Bedford Market selling home-made bread, jams and cakes and fed and motivated the volunteer labour force. With Cliff she also re-established the Kempston Ringing Outing which with good ringing, excellent teas and singing on the coach became a much anticipated event in the local calendar.

Anne rang her first peal at Harrold in 1954, one of only a few peals which didn’t feature Cliff, he being away in the RAF at the time. Her second peal was not until 20 years later, Anne being busy in the intervening years raising three daughters. Anne rang 100 peals including 17 first peals, evidence of her encouragement of younger ringers. Her peal records provide a personal history, the majority having been rung to mark national events or milestones for family and friends; births, marriages, christenings and farewells. The majority were rung in Bedfordshire, including 33 at Kempston, others further afield including Loughborough Bell Foundry, Wimborne Minster, Inverary and numerous towers in Suffolk and Oxfordshire. Anne was very proud to have rung her 100th peal at Kempston in 2000 to celebrate the Queen Mother’s centenary.

Anne’s funeral was held at Kempston on 8th January and as she left the church and was laid to rest in the nearby cemetery, a well-struck touch of Grandsire Caters was rung by friends on the unmuffled bells. Cliff and family would like to thank the many friends who attended the service and rang for Anne and would like to express their sincere appreciation for the many messages of sympathy received.


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Central Council of Church Bell Ringers