Obituaries

Geoff Harry Lee

3rd July 1933 - 4th April 2010

Geoff was born in Littlehampton Sussex, and attended the local primary school. He became a chorister at Lyminster Church from a very young age, and started bellringing there under his father’s tuition in 1947. When Geoff was a teenager, the family moved to Arundel, and he attended Chichester High School as a pupil.

His first job was as a booking clerk at Arundel station, but he then had to leave for his period of National Service. On his return to Arundel, Geoff became an auditor with the railways; this meant he had to learn to drive to be able to get to rural stations as part of his job. He later found himself in charge of his own team of auditors when he was promoted to Auditor-in-Charge at Waterloo Station.

Geoff was Captain of Arundel Ringers for almost thirty years; over the years he taught many people to ring to a very high standard.

It was never too much trouble for Geoff to make arrangements for extra ringing at Arundel, whether it was an additional practice – from which the Western Division of the Sussex County Association still derives huge benefit – a quarter peal or a peal.

Geoff rang over fifty peals; the majority of them at Arundel. He also rang well over 200 quarter peals, many of them on the treble, as he put it, “to allow the rest of the band to ring something fancy”. He was an excellent striker, and when he rang the treble he rarely made a mistake, becoming a key member of the monthly quarter peal band. He did ring four quarters of Surprise Major inside, but said he felt happier ringing methods that he had grown up with.

Geoff was full of fun and had the ability to laugh at himself; he loved it when everyone enjoyed themselves whether it was ringing or just each other’s company.

At his funeral several people were heard to say ‘Geoff was so well liked and will be very much missed’.

At the Funeral Service held on 20th April tributes were paid to Geoff by the Vicar the Rt Revd R. David Farrer.

All his work came with his gift for greeting people as if they were the one person he wanted to see that day. His love of family was paramount but it was not inward-looking it was simply reflected in the willingness to care for each person with whom he came in contact.

But more, Geoff lived life in such a way that all his activities and interest involved others and were for the benefit of yet others, his extended family, friends and people in general.

There is a sort of theme tune for Geoff that I found well expressed by Oscar Hammerstein II:
“A bell’s not a bell ‘til you ring it; a song’s not a song ‘til you sing it,
Love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay; Love isn’t love ‘til you give it away!”

Geoff will be remembered as an encourager with a face-lightening, bright-eyed welcome. As he lived, so he died. Until the very last days the vice-like handgrip remained.

A tribute was also paid by Geoff‘s son Duncan; who told us: “Geoff never complained about being ill and seemed to accept that this was how it was meant to be.” Tributes were also paid by Geoff’s daughter Debbie, his granddaughters Katie and Helen and by Roy Cox.

The famous quotation:
“I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.” Geoff more than lived up to these sentiments.

ROY COX

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Central Council of Church Bell Ringers