Obituaries

Roland Richard Jackson

10th April 1959 - 2nd October 2014

Roland was born on 10th April 1959 in Clitheroe, Lancashire, brother to Bill Jackson. He was educated at Ribblesdale Secondary School until the age of 16, when he went to Blackburn College to learn to be an electrician. His first job was as a bus conductor with Ribble Buses in Clitheroe. He went on to become a bus driver, and stayed in the job until 1997, but according to Bill he hated every day of it. This may account for the incident where he wrote off one bus by slicing off the roof at a low bridge, but we don’t know how he came to do the same to an ice-cream van! During this time he was also a member of a pop group, and tried to make one of their gigs more interesting by setting off some small explosions at a certain point in the show. Unfortunately the bang was much bigger than expected, and the area was showered with shrapnel – fortunately without any injuries. Roland said “well, that didn’t go to plan!”

Roland went through a difficult patch in 1997, and came south to be with his mother in Hamble and his brother in Hedge End, who helped him to get through it. In 1998 he (reluctantly) restarted his bus driver career with Southampton City Bus. While there he helped to stage several pantomimes at the old Portswood depot social club. He had to give up bus driving when he was found to have tunnel vision after knocking over a bus shelter in Above Bar, again without injury. He retrained as an electrician and also did gardening and general maintenance work around Curdridge, using a succession of old and unreliable cars to store and transport his tools. He also found occasional work as a mystery shopper, and was especially pleased to be occasionally asked to write reviews of beers! Many people in Curdridge found him a kind, helpful and hard- working friend and a good companion.

He had a lifelong interest in music and particularly enjoyed the flute, often playing at services in Shedfield church, and with a group of friends in Curdridge.

Roland learnt to ring with Walter Wilkinson at St Mary’s Church, Clitheroe, around the age of 19 – Bill says that changed his life. He first signed the visitor’s book at Curdridge on 19th May 1997, and rang at Curdridge for the Millennium. He was a valuable member of the band right up to his death. He was effectively our Ringing Master, and always ensured that everyone got a ring of whatever they were trying to practice, with a bit of stretch included. He rang one peal, at Shedfield, and a number of quarter peals, including his first as conductor on his 40th birthday. He also rang handbells, and trained a group of ringers to perform for the Curdridge Harvest Supper last year.

He lived alone and died on 2nd October 2014 from heart failure, but was not found until the next day when I went to check on him after being contacted by his music friends, who were concerned that he was not replying to phone calls as usual. His family’s initial plan for his cremation was for a very basic event with no-one present, but after some publicity fourteen of us followed his coffin. Some were ringers, some Curdridge friends, and some we hadn’t met before who had come to know him through Facebook. It was very appropriate that they added five special bottles of beer to his floral tributes after the cremation; they were taken home for use as he would have wished!

We knew that he frequently used to take photographs of insects, spider’s webs, slugs, cats, et c., but we didn’t know that he posted them on Facebook. It appeared that he had a wide circle of Facebook friends across the world, and through it had got back in touch with some old friends. Apparently balloons were released and candles lit in his memory in America at the time of his cremation, showing how widely he was regarded. This was further shown when over forty friends and ringers met for a memorial ring, service and meal at Curdridge on 25th October. He will be much missed.

ROBIN MILFORD

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Central Council of Church Bell Ringers