Obituaries

Gwilym Irfon Price

9th July 1934 – 12th March 2014

Although Gwilym and Pam had moved to Lutterworth recently – in order to be near their daughter and grandchildren – he will be long remembered as a mainstay of the community in North Kilworth, Leicestershire. He served as a Parish Councillor and was a keen darts player and skittles player (winning many trophies), as well as keeping a lovely garden. He did very long spells as sidesman, churchwarden and – of special interest to this readership – he was a bellringer.

Gwilym was born in old administrative district of Llandovery, Carmarthenshire, the second of seven children born to Idwell and Nancy Price, his middle name being inspired by the River Irfon, the fast flowing river at the bottom of the garden. His first language was Welsh, but by the time I first met him – in the 1980s – he had forgotten most of it. When he started school, he enjoyed a 4-mile walk each way, until the family moved to Eydon where his father had a job on a farm and where Gwilym and his brothers helped out.

During WWII, the family moved to North Kilworth, again because of his Father’s work. Gwilym was also very resourceful and would collect old and broken bicycles and cobble them together for his brothers and sisters to use. He used to do a paper round and collected and delivered people’s medicines to earn some pocket money. He began working for another local farmer and used to drive his cows along the main road to be milked. Having worked for a while in a local garage, he eventually became a lorry and van driver for a series of firms (complicated by take-overs, et c.), ending with Bakers in Crick, until he retired … several times, having been called back to help them out when they had problems! Gwilym loved driving and one of his first driving jobs was for another local garage owner, Frank Howkins, when he drove his taxi. One of these taxi jobs was to take a certain Pam to church when she married her first husband, George.

Apart from ringing, Gwilym’s great passion was dancing, and this brought Pam and him together. On 23rd November 1974 Pam and Gwilym were married and made their home in North Kilworth. Sadly, their honeymoon in Jersey was cut short due to the sad loss of Pam’s mother. So it was for their Silver Wedding Melanie (their daughter) and Paul (their son-in-law) sent them back to Jersey for the honeymoon they never had. In the meantime, Jersey and Dorset became favourite holiday destinations, but in 2004 they departed on a trip of a lifetime – six weeks in Australia, visiting friends and family.

Gwilym loved North Kilworth church, for which he worked tirelessly. Over 25 years he was churchwarden and it was here he was eventually able to take up bell ringing, later in life than most. This enabled him to combine his two loves of bell ringing and visiting different churches. I had the privilege of conducting his first quarter peal – quite an achievement at his age. However, he was most proud when he completed his first full peal on 19th March 2005, in his 71st year (it is never too late!). He was overjoyed when – without his prior knowledge – we were able to ring for the baptism of Pam and his first grandchild, Emily. Although we were honoured to make the effort and we knew it would be very much appreciated, it was also with considerable sadness (as we knew that the end was near) that we were able to ring for the baptism of the newest grandchildren, twins Callum and Jacob, on Sunday, 9th March 2014.

Despite his suffering, Gwilym was determined to be at that Service to welcome his grandchildren into the Christian Life. His courageous battle against cancer ended three days later, on Wednesday, 12th March. He fought it so bravely and never really showed how much he was suffering. For his tenacity and devotion to duty, he is an example for all of us. As his widow, Pam, put it: “When you go out into the garden to pick a flower, to bring inside, you choose the best one you can find. That is what God has done.” On the subject of flowers, the coffin at Gwilym’s funeral was bedecked with flowers in the shape of … a bell! May he rest in peace and rise in Glory.

 

GEOFF ARMITAGE
aided by notes from Memories of Gwilym,
read at the funeral by Brian Cook

BB BellBoard
CC
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers