Obituaries

Peter George Barnes

26th January 1934 - 7th September 2014

Peter’s ringing career started just after the Second World War under his father’s guidance at St Mary’s Church, Ardleigh, a hobby which would last for over 60 years.

Peter and his father, George Barnes, supported local towers in the area. St Leonard’s at the Hythe and St Peter’s, Colchester were towers where Peter learnt a lot of his method ringing; St Peter’s becoming his home tower later on in his ringing career. After a number of years not ringing as he was moving to different places in the police force, he eventually moved back to Colchester in the early 1980s.

One evening after finishing work, he stood at the steps of St Peter’s listening to the bells ringing but only counted seven. Once they had stopped, Peter was just about to start to walk home, when out of the blue he heard a voice “Peter, where do you think you’re going!” Dicky Furminger had seen him and called him back, Peter was welcomed by all of the band, handed a rope and rang the tenor to a quarter of Bob Major.

St Peter’s was to become his home tower and he was a dedicated ringer fulfilling many roles over the years including Tower Treasurer, Secretary and Tower Captain up until 2013. Peter was also a great supporter of the NEEAC being Past Master, Deputy Master, Secretary and Treasurer and past Master of the WAGS.

Peter’s love for bellringing was a great part of his life and he arranged many car/coach outings also enjoyable ringing coach holidays supported by many people far and wide. He kept many records about where he had rung, and on which bell; if the bells had been rehung or amended. He rang in over 1,545 towers including in Australia and USA, ringing over 350 quarter peals and 26 peals of which his first peal was at St Ives ringing the treble to Plain Bob Major at the age of 14.

When Peter was told he was ill he thought that was the end of his ringing career, but with support and encouragement from local ringers he kept his hand in where he could, right up until the last.

For a number of years his wish was to ring at St James Garlickhythe, London; on 16th August 2014 this was fulfilled. Not able to walk very far, he managed to get the energy to climb the stairs and ring the tenor to a good length of call changes.

Peter was a great ringer and was one of the last of the ‘old School’ that you look up to in your ringing career; he always put other people first, helping where he could, on many occasions I have sat with Peter explaining how to conduct methods and ring hand bells, it is down to him that I was able to conduct my first peal.

On sitting beside Peter a few days before he passed away, he said “what a way to go, finally getting to ring on St James Garlickhythe, and a day out with my dearest friends”.

Peter was a family man leaving behind two daughters, a son, grandchildren and partner Jane. He will be deeply missed by all but fondly remember, he was a great inspiration to many people, including all his immediate family, love of Jane, close friends and his numerous ringing friends.

STEVEN E. CLARKE

Thorrington, Essex

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Central Council of Church Bell Ringers