Obituaries

Roy Jones

(1935 - 2014)

Born in North Oxford in 1935, Roy began what was to become a seventy year ringing career at the age of eight, learning to ring at St Nicholas church in Marston. Two years later he won a scholarship to Magdalen College School where his talents became channelled into the field of chemistry. During his National Service he served in the Medical Corps and subsequently back in civilian life he worked for the pharmacist Timothy Whites. Roy’s passion for ringing directly brought about a sharp change in career path when he redirected his focus on the teaching profession primarily as it afforded greater holiday periods within which ringing could be undertaken.

Prior to just before the Second World War the ringing at Marston was devoid of method ringing, this being until Alec Gammon encouraged the band to expand its horizons. From the 1950s onwards there have been some 150 peals and well over 1,000 quarter peals rung on the Marston bells, with this surge in activity due in the greatest part to Roy. In his seven decades of ringing there were but a handful of towers across the world where Roy did not manage to ring.

Roy arranged the first of what is now known as the Wayfarers Summer Ringing Holidays back in 1951. Taking place in early August every year, this week-long event encompasses over fifty towers, typically including two quarter peal attempts per day, plus ringing at the practice of a local tower on weekday evenings and for Sunday services. His skill at organising eight or nine consecutive days of ringing, lunch venues and accommodation helped make this holiday a firm fixture on the calendar of ringers from across the country.

Besides being a ringer, with some 6,000+ quarter peals to his name, Roy also found time to be a Scout leader, school governor, school admissions panellist and serve on the Parish Council in two stints since the 1960s. Despite latterly suffering from a number of illnesses, most notably diabetes, Roy was still teaching new ringers, organising ringing trips and quarter pealing right up to the day before he passed away on Monday, 5th May this year. His last quarter peal being before evensong at St Nicholas on Sunday, 4th May. Both his funeral service in late May and memorial service in June were attended by numerous ringers from across the country, with his ashes being interred in the Garden of Rest overlooked by the tower of St Nicholas church.

HUGH DEAN

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Central Council of Church Bell Ringers