Obituaries

Rodney John (Dan) Durrant

1935 - 2014

Dan was born and grew up in Sussex, and studied science at Nottingham University, then animal nutrition at Wye College and followed a career in agriculture. He and his wife Margaret lived first in Sussex, then in Yorkshire, before moving to Wacton in South Norfolk in the early 1980s, where they became involved in the local church and community. He was a very knowledgeable man, with a wide range of sporting and other interests, and he added bell ringing to them comparatively late. Wacton, with only one bell available for chiming, is in the same group of parishes as St Mary’s, Long Stratton, with its ring of six. Margaret responded to an appeal for new learners in the early 1990s and became a keen ringer. As she progressed, she visited other local towers for practices and Dan would often take her to them. It was at Woodton that he was finally persuaded to “have a go” himself, and he never looked back.

Dan remained very much a doubles ringer, and he enjoyed going to practices and meetings at other towers, and the whole social side of ringing, which he continued after Margaret’s untimely death from cancer in 2006. He rang a number of quarter peals, and one, unexpected, peal at Woodton in 2002. Having thought he had been asked for a quarter, he found himself ringing for 2 hours and 45 minutes! Dan and Margaret had been planning to take a lead in the fund raising for the much needed restoration of the Long Stratton bells when a project was first seriously considered in 2003-4, but her illness intervened. He was thrilled when the bells were finally restored in 2012, and having helped with fundraising events he was one of the team painting the repaired frame while the bells were away. He very much enjoyed ringing them afterwards, though sadly, having being diagnosed with cancer himself, he was unable to enjoy them for long, as his illness made. It increasingly difficult. He finally moved to be cared for by his elder daughter and her family at their home on the Isle of Wight in July and died there quite suddenly on 13th August. A family funeral was held there on 29th August, taken by a retired former Rector of Long Stratton and Wacton whom Dan knew well. Two local quarters were rung in his memory.

On 25th October a Thanksgiving Service for his life was held in Wacton Church, attended by his two daughters and other close family, local friends and ringers from the area. His elder daughter, Alison gave a moving tribute, and many memories were shared afterwards. He is much missed – may he rest in peace.

Long Stratton, Norfolk. 28 Aug, 1260 Grandsire Doubles: Monica Churchill 1, Rosemary Bennet 2, Elisabeth Spry 3, David Hillier 4, Betty Baines (C) 5, Matthew Thomton 6. Rung half-muffled in memory of Dan Durrant, a ringer at this church, on the eve of his funeral.

Pulham Market, Norfolk. 2 Sep, 1260 Doubles (3m): Una Carr 1, Gale Hodgkinson 2, Elisabeth Spry 3, David Hillier 4, Michael Hodgkinson (C) 5, Brian Can 6. Rung in thanksgiving for the life of Dan Durrant, who frequently rang at this tower.

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Central Council of Church Bell Ringers