1937 - 2009

Roger was born and bred in Tewkesbury; coming to the tower after serving in the Choir as most boys did at that time. Roger was one of the founder members of The Abbey Guild of Ringers. The first meeting was on Thursday 2nd January 1958 when Roger was elected Steeple Keeper, a position he appears to have held until the bells were re-hung in 1962.

Three months later Roger was elected a member of the Tewkesbury Branch of the Gloucester & Bristol D.A. at a quarterly meeting at Chaceley.

I believe that it was in 1959 that Roger rang his first quarter peal. It was at the Abbey and my father was also in the band but unfortunately he has failed to put a year next to the Ringing World cutting. Roger then rang his first peal at Bushley Worcestershire on Saturday, 25th February 1961, ringing the tenor behind to a peal of mixed Doubles.

1971 marked the 500th anniversary of the battle of Tewkesbury and also the 850th anniversary of the consecration of the Abbey church. This double event was marked by the Festival of Tewkesbury organised by the Theocsbury Charity Committee. The Festival consisted of many differing events, including flower shows, open air concerts, et c.

Some months later, a notice was placed in a local shop window asking for suggestions as to how these two anniversaries could be marked every year in the future. Roger saw this notice and persuaded the tower captain, Harold Schofield, to contact the Committee.

A meeting was held on 4th December 1972 between Harold and the Theocsbury Charity Committee at which it was agreed that an annual ringing competition should be held. Amongst the various mementos of the Festival had been a limited edition Spode plate. One of these plates was mounted in silver and presented to the Abbey Guild of Ringers to be awarded each year as the “Tewkesbury Shield” competition trophy. The competition still takes place each May and Roger was always very proud of his connection with its beginnings.

During the late 1970s and 1980s Roger did very little ringing. Work commitments and an interest in trains, radio communications, astronomy, clocks and many other things appear to have kept him busy, although he did go on many of Harold & May Schofield’s ringing holidays.

Roger was persuaded back to the Abbey tower by his life-long friend, Bob Rivers, when he took up bellringing in the run-up to retirement. Roger became a member of the Guild again in December 1993 and was very much a regular until ill health forced him to give up a couple of years ago. It was inevitable that Roger should become Keeper of the Abbey Clock, a position he kept until his death. He spent countless hours up the tower making sure the clock was accurate, almost down to the nearest second. His reputation soon spread and he was asked to take charge of the town hall clock as well. Roger was a well-known figure in town. We will all miss him very much.

RUTH BAGLEY

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CC
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers