Obituaries

Thomas (Tom) Harold Harris

6th October 1927 – 22nd May 2014 (86 years)

Tom was Tower Captain and Ringing Master at Hathern, Leicestershire for more than 50 years. He followed his father into the tower. He built up the local ringing team from scratch. They started learning to ring changes with the numbers of the bells to follow chalked on the floor! Progressing eventually to learning methods and augmenting the tower to eight bells and then moving forwards from there.

He became a very accomplished ringer, very well known in the area and very supportive of the Leicester Diocesan Guild ringing 650 recorded peals. His first in 1955 and his last in 1993.

Although in later years not able to ring, he still conducted and coached from the side benches in the tower. He would suggest touches and help learners with the scraps of paper from his pocket and a pencil!

Tom was a ‘stickler’ for good striking and oft would be heard saying loudly “... listen to it!”. In fact this can still be heard echoing in the tower on practice nights! He always strived to get the best from everybody and always expected everyone to improve be they learner or experienced ringer.

The day after Tom died his family wanted us to chime the Hathern death knell which we did by hand, using lump hammers on the bells as our clappers had been removed for urgent repairs, with four of us, Tom’s daughter being one of us, sitting under the bells chiming them. The pattern for a man’s death in Hathern is three chimes on each of the eight bells with the age being rung on the tenor, in this case 86 chimes; a very poignant moment for us all.

Once the clappers were urgently replaced we rang for his funeral. There followed a quarter peal with a local band and a peal by a Leicester Diocesan Guild band.

TONY CROFT

   LEICESTER D.G.   

HATHERN, Leics,
SS Peter & Paul
Sat Jun 28 2014 2h45 (9)
5024 Spliced S Major
(5m: 1152 Rutland; 992 each Lincolnshire,
Yorkshire; 960 Superlative; 928 Cambridge;
108 com, atw)
Comp. P G K Davies
1 Graham Knight
2 Robert C Graves
3 Brenda Parr
4 Robert J Marchbank
5 R Philip Graves (C)
6 Peter J Rayns
7 Nicholas J Parr
8 Andrew A Ward
Rung in thanksgiving for the life
of Tom Harris, ringer and tower
captain at this church for over
50 years. Also in memory of
Fred Spencer lifelong friend 
of Tom, who died on the day
of Tom’s funeral.

Hathern, Leics. 7 Jun, 1280 PB Major: F Alan Wright 1, Katharine M Rayns 2, Vivienne Matravers 3, H Mary Barrass 4, Graham Knight 5, Anthony Croft 6, Edward Faragher 7, Peter J Rayns (C) 8. In memory of Tom Harris, Tower Captain at Hathern for 50 years, who died on 22 May 2014 and whose funeral was yesterday. 1st Major: 3.

beside the frame at Hathern
Tom in the bell chamber at Hathern bells at the time of their augmentation

BB BellBoard
CC
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers