Obituaries

Colin David Lucas

Colin was born in Redhill, Surrey, two months after the outbreak of WWII, the second child of David and Elsie, moving back to Orpington in Kent when he was 10 days old, thus denying him what he considered his birth-right as a Kentish man. His father was in the RAF so the family moved around the country to be near him. One of Colin’s earliest memories was of Arnhem and seeing the gliders towed out from RAF Fairford, and then the upset when so many men failed to return.

Colin and his sister Jean had a happy childhood; Colin was a chorister at St Paul’s church, Crofton and enjoyed football, tennis and generally being one of the boys. He wasn’t too keen on school, but got by, completing his education at a commercial college.

Colin’s first job was with Welch Margetson, a firm that made all kinds of menswear from handkerchiefs to dressing gowns. To learn his trade he had to begin at the bottom as post-boy, this came in useful later on when presents had to be wrapped, he was much better at that than Janet. Eventually he became area representative covering West London, Essex and Hertfordshire, where one of his clients was Wheatley’s of Rickmansworth; little did he think then that he would live there.

In 1960 the family moved out to Eynsford and it was there that Colin learned to ring, a skill that was to change the course of his life. Colin eventually became Captain where his sister and his brother-in-law, Frank, were also ringers. Frank became captain after Colin moved to Rickmansworth. He also joined a fund raising group known as “The Committee of the Five Bells” named after the pub that the group met in, to raise money to enable the ground floor ring to be raised to a new upper floor. At around this time he was suffering from an acute episode of ankylosing spondylitis, a spinal condition which curtailed his sporting activities but didn’t stop him doing anything else; an attitude he maintained throughout his life.

During the late 1970s Welch Margetson was taken over and redundancy followed. Characteristically Colin was proactive in seeking another job and in January 1971 began work with BEA (later BA) as a buyer in the Uniforms Department, sourcing fabrics and clothing for all staff, maintenance and engineers as well as flying staff. Colin once told me that the ground engineering staff wore purple overalls in memory of the engineers who wore this colour on the doomed Titanic ! He loved his job and stayed with BA until his retirement on 29th February 2000. To his chagrin he had to work an extra day because of the leap year!

This job change was the second thing that would alter the course of Colin’s life because as a result he was to meet Janet.

Because his home was in Eynsford, Colin had digs in various places including Hertford where he rang at Essendon. His final digs were in Harefield during the week, returning home at weekends. He spent the evenings ringing at various towers in the district including Hillingdon and of course, Rickmansworth, where Janet was a ringer. Colin and Janet didn’t have a whirlwind romance; it wasn’t until late 1974 while arranging the first ringer’s dinner that they became a couple. That Christmas Colin gave Janet a beautiful Jaqumar pure silk scarf. Janet’s parents were greatly impressed and it wasn’t until many years later that Colin confessed that it was a free sample from a representative!

They were married in this Church on a glorious day in May 1976 and set up home in their present house in Croxley Green, settling into a comfortable and happy routine together and later with their daughter Circe.

Typically, after his retirement Colin didn’t sit around waiting for things to come to him. Within six months he had an allotment, followed by a second and was soon on the Committee and then Chairman of Barton Way Allotment Association. He also volunteered to help with Medical Loan at the Red Cross Centre in Croxley. If you needed a wheelchair or a commode on a Tuesday, Colin was your man! In due course he became Lead Volunteer, a post he held until his death.

There was also Oxfam, where he sorted and packed the huge amount of cardboard for recycling. It was a mundane but vital job and Colin even had his own Stanley knife and ball of string!

Throughout this time he continued his ringing activities and became Vice Captain. He also founded the ongoing second Tuesday 10-bell practice at Rickmansworth which continues, many of the ringers being present at the funeral. The discerning may have noticed that the bells were not half-muffled on that day, but open in celebration of a life well lived.

At St Mary’s, Rickmansworth, Colin’s first quarter peal was on 30th April 1975 and St Mary’s belfry records show that he had rung at least 30 quarter peals, but did not ring any peals.

Colin and Janet were delighted to welcome Joern to the family, even though he is a Bayern Munich supporter! Holidays with Circe and Joern in Holland have been a highlight in the calendar, also visits to Janet’s family in Scotland.

Finally there are the Tunstall children, India, Poppy and Johnny who have brought such fun and colour into Colin and Janet’s lives for the past 15 years, and will continue to do so for Janet.

So there we have Colin, a loving husband, father, father-in-law, brother and brother-in law, a true friend to many and a faithful Christian man, always willing to give a word of advice, a lift or a helping hand. The only time he and Janet had “words” was over the other’s style of driving and Colin’s insistence of hogging the television remote controls.

Mercifully his last illness was short and his passing peaceful. We shall miss him greatly but he will always be remembered in the hearts of those who loved him. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

A number of quarter peals were rung to celebrate Colin’s life:

Uxbridge, Middx. (S Margaret) 18 Nov, 1263 Stedman Triples: John Davidge 1, Nikki O’Halloran 2, Monica Trow 3, Roger Forster 4, Michael Palmer (C) 5, Linda Foddering 6, John Manley 7, Alan Rix 8. Rung to celebrate the life of Colin Lucas of Rickmansworth.

Rickmansworth, Herts. 28 Nov. 1260 Grandsire Triples: Roger Gage 1, Geoffrey Hall 2, Nicky J Smith 3, Hugh Thomas 4, Andrew F Case 5, Roderic K Bickerton 6, John Davidge (C) 7, Renny Thomas 8. To celebrate the life of Colin Lucas, a long time ringer at this church. Rung on the morning of his funeral, which would have been his 75th birthday, by members of the second Tuesday of the month practice band which he initiated.

Lemsford, Herts. 29 Nov, 1260 Doubles (3m): Oliver Bond 1, Craig Homewood (C) 2, Claire Below 3, James A Coleman 4, Jennifer V Johnson 5, Euan Thomas 6. In memory of Colin Lucas of Rickmansworth, the ringers of 1 and 6 being from this tower. Young@Herts Quarter Peal Day 5/5. Most methods 3.

 

This obituary was based on a tribute written by Janet Lucas and read by Nik Tunstall at Colin’s funeral on Friday, 28th November 2014. Further ringing details have been added by David Hibbert, Tower Captain at St Mary’s, Rickmansworth.

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