Obituaries

F. Gordon Faulks

Gordon Faulks was born in Heanor on 22nd December 1947. He was to live the whole of his life in Heanor and Marlpool, the adjacent village. He was educated at Marlpool Boys’ School and then at Aldercar Secondary School. Later he did an Open University degree in mathematics, computing and technology. When he left school he served an apprenticeship with the Coal Board where he worked as an electrician. While still in his twenties he went to work at Rolls-Royce Ltd in the Instrument department, later transferring to the Electronics and Measurement Techniques department. In later years he travelled abroad extensively for Rolls-Royce.

When Gordon was a young man, his father had told him that he must choose whether he sang in the choir or rang the church bells. There was no choice – that was the start of Gordon’s passion for ringing. He learned to ring in about 1960, being taught at Heanor by David Camm. The two became lifelong friends. Gordon applied himself well to the task of learning to ring and soon became a member of the Derby Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers. He also became a loyal and staunch supporter of Sunday service ringing at Heanor, where he helped the band to progress as he learned how to conduct. He rang his first peal on 15th December 1965; this was Plain Bob Triples at Ripley. Gordon became a capable and enthusiastic peal ringer, ringing 892 peals in total, including one handbell peal. He conducted 63 of his peals. His peals included four of 23 spliced Surprise Major, all the work, and 2 of 27 spliced Surprise Major. His leading peal tower was Belper, where he rang a total of 503 peals. His second peal tower was Heanor, with 71 peals. He was a very reliable ringer, in that he made very few errors while he was ringing, even if the methods were new and complicated. He was also a reliable back-end ringer, able to keep the rhythm going well throughout the peal. A further example of Gordon’s prowess in ringing was that when the Heanor band won the Horsley Cup, the Derby Diocesan Association Cup for good striking, Gordon was the conductor of the band. There is still a photo of that band in Heanor ringing chamber. For a while after David Camm moved to Youlgreave, Gordon was the tower captain at Heanor.

The Heanor ringers in the early 1960s included a group of young men who enjoyed spending their free time ringing and going off to various churches to sample the bells there. They used to visit West Hallam on Friday evenings to make the most of the bell ringing classes which were being run there, after which they joined the other ringers for a pint in the pub. One amusing incident which happened many years ago took place at West Hallam, where the bells are very light. You will all have seen cartoons of ringers flying upwards clutching a bell rope. In reality, of course, that does not normally happen unless a stay gets broken or for some reason the slider mechanism fails. On this particular occasion when the conductor called ‘stand’ the stay on Gordon’s bell did not engage with the slider as Gordon tried to set his bell. To Gordon’s surprise his bell continued to rise up and he ascended on the end of the rope until his feet were at about the same level as the heads of the other ringers. David Marshall said ‘Why don’t you let go?’ To which Gordon replied ‘Why don’t you pull me back down?’ So they pulled him back down by his feet!

Gordon met Winifred through ringing, as she rang at Eastwood, which is not far from Heanor. They were married on 1st October 1972. They did not have any children; they remained a devoted couple for all their lives together. When urgent repairs were needed to Heanor tower, which suffered from the effects of subsidence, caused by coal mining in the area, Gordon was a member of the fundraising committee, working hard to ensure the future safety of the tower.

He became a magistrate in 1990, a way in which he still served the community at the time of his death. His duties included helping to train other magistrates.

Gordon enjoyed several other hobbies a well as ringing. He had a piano which he thoroughly enjoyed playing, being very fond of classical music. He tried his hand at creative writing including poems. In recent years he took up cookery.

Gordon was a kind man – when one of the older Derbyshire ringers, Harold Taylor, became unable to drive, thus restricting his peal ringing, it was Gordon who offered to pick him up from his home each Thursday evening to transport him to wherever the peal was taking place that night.

In spite of never having smoked, Gordon was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2013 and after a brave struggle against it he died on 18th March 2014. His funeral took place at Heanor church on 3rd April. The church was packed, with both chairs and service sheets running out. He was buried at Marlpool.

Gordon will be much missed and our sympathies are with Winifred as she mourns his loss. The world, particularly the ringing world, is the poorer for his passing. May he rest in peace.

PAT HALLS

DERBY D.A.
WEST HALLAM, Derbyshire, St Wilfrid of York
Thu Apr 24 2014 2h38 (9)
5088 Lincolnshire S Major
Comp. C J Sedgley
1 Jane E Boden
2 Sue Rainsbury
3 Peter W Dickinson
4 Colin Aked
5 Patricia A M Halls
6 John E Hawes (C)
7 John V Chadwick
8 Martin J Whiteley
In memory of F Gordon Faulks.
1st Lincolnshire: 2.
£3
BB BellBoard
CC
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers