Obituaries

Nora Wall

25/8/1918 – 4/12/2014

Nora Wall (1918-2014)Nora and Eddy Wall retired to Great Steeping near Spilsby, Lincolnshire, in 1982. Nora had been a member of the band of ringers at Prestwich, Manchester and before that, Doncaster Parish Church.

I first met Nora whilst working in a belfry one afternoon: Nora and Eddy were visiting local churches and on hearing sounds from the tower at Addlethorpe, Nora came up to the belfry hoping to make contact with fellow bell ringers. My immediate impression was of her politeness and genuine interest in what we were doing. Downstairs I met Eddy and learned how they were looking forward to renovating the bungalow they had bought; how Nora was eager to get involved with ringing locally and had decided to join the band at Burgh-le-Marsh, the nearest active tower to their new home. When asked what she rang, Nora’s response of “not much” typified her modesty; she was in fact, a very competent change ringer; the first lady to ring a peal on the 30cwt eight at Doncaster, St George. Nora was not a prolific peal ringer, her peal total is unknown; her last peal was at Ingoldmells in 1991, the first peal to be rung there on eight bells.

Eddy’s untimely death soon after arriving in Lincolnshire left Nora alone with no family to support her, living in an unfamiliar area, the bungalow unfinished. Nora later told me that coping with this very dark time in her life and subsequent periods of severe depression, was possible only through bell ringing and the ringing friends she had made, many of whom she came to regard as ‘her family’.

Driven by a determination to finish what they had started together, Nora decided to complete the bungalow. Work that Eddy was to have carried out Nora taught herself to do.  Some of the heavy, labour intensive work was very difficult; Nora was very independent and offers of practical help were usually politely refused. When she did have to use specialist trades her expectations were not always completely fulfilled and Nora would make final adjustments herself.

When not at home engaged in DIY projects or tending her garden, Nora devoted an enormous amount of her time to bell ringing.  Her regular Sunday morning routine consisted of ringing for service at Burgh-le-Marsh, then Addlethorpe, followed by Ingoldmells and back to Burgh in the afternoon to ring for evensong. Nora supported practice nights at all these towers, including Friskney, and in ringing for special occasions at these and many other East Lincolnshire churches.  When clashes inevitably occurred Nora would honour her first commitment, always saying that she would “not give back word”.  In the wider area she was a regular at various other practices and a member of the Eastern Branch, LDGCB.

Nora was a devout Christian and supported her local church in Great Steeping. She was very caring and would often help her friends and neighbours, some of whom were younger than Nora.

In 1989 when Nora heard that Ingoldmells bells were to be augmented to eight she readily offered to help. Nora was with us during the week that Taylor’s bell hanger was at the church and for several weeks afterwards as we attended to rope guides, chime hammers and tower acoustics. Being small, extremely agile for her age and seemingly with a knack to always be in just the right place at the right time, Nora was a valued member of the team.

In 1996 a new ringing gallery was installed at Friskney, the work being carried out by the ringers. Nora wanted to be involved and joined a small team down in the church preparing materials. With this completed, Nora, now in her seventy-eighth year, joined a team working from scaffold nearly forty feet up! Many days were spent working there in the depths of winter and Nora was with us throughout.

Bells refurbishment projects followed at Burgh, Tattershall and then Coningsby; Nora quietly and humbly volunteering for whatever was being planned.

Nora joined my family for Christmas in her final years at Great Steeping. Our last Boxing Day walk together, with Nora then in her ninetieth year, over six miles of countryside footpaths. Just a few months later, following a period of depression, Nora moved to a care home in nearby Spilsby where she remained independent and in good health for several more years.

Nora passed away after a day in hospital following a fall, aged 96. Ringers, friends and neighbours joined Nora’s niece and nephew at the funeral service in Spilsby Church on 22nd December 2014; the bells were rung open, before and after the service.

Loyalty, thoughtfulness, a true sense of gratitude and utmost integrity; qualities recognised by those who knew Nora. She was one of the most remarkable, selfless people I have been privileged to know.

TONY BARKER

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Central Council of Church Bell Ringers