Nicholas John Chesson was born on 4th January 1950 to parents Bert and Elsie Chesson of Eastchurch on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent. Nicholas (or Nick as he preferred) grew up in Eastchurch and attended All Saints church.

In the early 1960s, Peter Wilkinson tried to encourage Nick to take up ringing but Nick initially declined saying that it “really wasn’t his scene”. However, he changed his mind and was taught to ring by Charlie Haywood.

Nick’s first peal was a handbell peal of Doubles, rung on 13th June with Peter Beal and Joan Haywood. Of Nick’s first five peals, four were in hand. Nick’s first tower bell peal was of Plain Bob Minor at Milton Regis conducted by Peter Wilkinson.

Nick’s handbell ringing continued and peal number 8 was rung as a 16th birthday compliment to him on 2nd January 1966. Two weeks later he rang his first eight bell tower peal at Tunstall.

Nick attended Sheerness Secondary School for Boys and from there he went to work at the National Westminster Bank in Sheerness. Nick began to ring more peals and his peal total increased rapidly, ringing with many of the KCACR’s leading peal ringers of the time.

Nick transferred from the bank at Sheerness to Chatham and offered Queenborough ringer Marian Cundiff a lift to the Medway towns where she worked as a laboratory technician. Romance blossomed and on 30th March 1974 Nick married Marian at Holy Trinity Queenborough. Following their marriage the couple set up home first in Ramsgate and then in Eastry. Three years later Nick took on the treasurer’s role of the KCACR, a post which he held for three years. Promotion in the bank took Nick and Marian to Essex where he became a regular at Chelmsford Cathedral and then at Rayleigh.

In 1986 Nick and Marian settled in Sittingbourne and joined the band at Tunstall. In 1987 Nick took on his second stint as treasurer for the KCACR. In 1993 Nick took on the captaincy of the Tunstall band. This coincided with the period of fund raising for the recasting of the bells. Nick opted for a quieter working life and self-employment assisting small businesses in financial management. His peal ringing continued. He conducted the last peal on the old Tunstall bells in 1994 and rang in the first on the new ring as well as for the centenary of the founding of the Tunstall Society of Change Ringers in 1999.

About this time Nick also developed an interest in local football and would often join fellow ringer Terry Barton on the terraces at Sittingbourne F.C. One year an entry to the district striking competition was abandoned as five out of the six team members decided that watching football was more interesting than ringing. It was especially interesting as a former colleague of Nick’s was the referee for the match. One particular section of the crowd that afternoon was heard to chant (accurately) “the referee’s a banker”!

Nick and Marian enjoyed travelling around the south of France and they began to talk about living there. On holiday in 2001 Nick and Marian were shown a plot of land to the south of Lodeve in Languedoc-Roussillon. Nick was so taken by it, he put down a deposit that day. In September 2002 they left for their new life in France.

Nick maintained his business servicing UK clients from France. They got involved in the expat. life and Nick developed his routines which endeared him to the local French

population. Expats in the area would often come to him with questions and if they wanted to know what was happening they all knew to ask Nick.

In April 2010 Nick was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Realising the odds were stacked against him Nick remained positive and maintained as much of a normal life as possible.

Nick remained healthy until early 2014. He had developed complications and was admitted to hospital on his 40th wedding anniversary. At the end of April Nick opted for an operation to relieve the complications but he knew that it carried a risk but despite this he went ahead, simply stating ‘I can’t go on living like this’.

Nick died without regaining consciousness following the operation on the evening of 30th April, his wife Marian was at his side.

He is sadly missed by Marian, his family, the ringers of Tunstall and the expat. and French communities of Lodeve. Nick’s approach to death was like his life, full of bravado and bluster. We shall miss his large personality and I will miss his badgering eMails in January telling me to get a move on with my financial information so that he could complete my tax return. Rest in peace Nick.


With thanks to Dickon Love,
Peter Wilkinson and Joan Clarke


Tunstall Kent. 25 May, 1250 Yorkshire S Major: Barry A Roberts 1, W Emma S Cundiff 2, Stuart M Cox 3, Peter Wilkinson 4, Roger H Pocock 5, Phillip R J Barnes 6, Neil W Jones 7, Dickon R Love (C) 8. Rung in affection memory of Nicholas J Chesson, a member of the Tunstall Change Ringing Society for many years and Captain (1993-95) who passed away on 30th April 2014.

Tunstall Kent. 30 May, 1260 PB Minor: Rachel S Cox 1, Valerie Reckless 2, Roger H Pocock 3, Richard J Bushell 4, Stuart M Cox 5, W Emma S Cundiff (C) 6. Rung in memory of Nicholas J Chesson.

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