Tower Captain of East Chinnock, Somerset

In the late nineties, my husband and I started a midweek practice, ‘The Friday Band’. The plan was to get the one or two good ringers from each tower in the area to come together and ring something interesting. We were all busy teaching learners, but we wanted to do something to stretch us.

For the first year or so, we struggled along, sometimes getting enough people, sometimes not. Then in 1998, Gordon Rendell invited Mary and John White to come along. They fitted in immediately, and came every week regularly as clockwork, bolstering up the small band of regulars.

Over the past sixteen years, the band has gone from strength to strength, meeting every week, ringing all sorts of things – both conventional and unconventional. After the ringing we all have coffee together, and this has welded us into a strong and caring group of friends. John and Mary have been with us all the way through, always volunteering when there is a tea to do or a social event to arrange, deputising for me when I’ve been unable to attend, or phoning around when snow stops play! Whatever’s been needed, they would offer their help.

John has been unwell for a few months, and sadly he died on 15th July. There was standing room only in East Chinnock church for his funeral, and the congregation included many ringers.

We wanted to pay tribute to John, so we decided to ring quarter peals, including all ‘The Friday Band’ members who were able to ring. We had enough volunteers for three, so on Friday, 1st August three quarter peals began simultaneously at Ashill, Merriott and Seavington St Mary. They were all successful, and following the ringing we enjoyed an excellent lunch at The Volunteer at Seavington.

Ashill, Som. 1260 PB Minor: Tricia Cox 1, Peter Vaughan 2, Terry Thomas 3, David Ledger 4, Chris Cox 5, Patrick Tucker (C) 6.

Merriott, Som. 1260 PB Doubles (1p/3m): David Purnell 1, Johan Nash-Smith 2, Michael Spencer 3, Jane Spencer 4, David Hammonds (C) 5, Jono Chapman 6.

Seavington St Mary, Som. 1260 PB Minor: Audrey Riley 1, Toby Dando (C) 2, David Neal 3, John Hayter 4, Ann Pearce 5, Anna Piechna 6.

All rung in memory of our good friend John White who, with his wife Mary, helped ‘The Friday Band’ to become the very special band that it is today.


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