1955 - 2011

A service of thanksgiving for Stephen’s life was held at All Saints church, Hopton-by-Thetford, after a private cremation in the morning. The small church was packed with local friends and many more from distant parts of the country who had made the journey to say farewell to our ‘gentle giant’. This was a rousing farewell to a much loved brother, husband and friend.

Stephen learned to ring at Drayton (Oxfordshire) in 1972, when the family moved to the area from Scotland. After completing the sixth form at Abingdon School he spent nine months in India, teaching at Mayo College in Ajmir, an experience that he never forgot: he and Ruth returned to India for a holiday to celebrate his 50th birthday a few years ago.

After returning from India he went to Nottingham University to study Maths. He was a prominent member (and secretary) of NUSCR, and many life-long friendships were forged during this period. Having completed his degree and a PGCE at Nottingham, he took up a teaching position in Chard (Somerset), during which time he rang at Chard and Chaffcombe. In 1982 he moved to Beccles (Suffolk) after being appointed to a teaching position in Lowestoft. He rang at Beccles and also established regular ringing at Blythburgh. It was at Blythburgh, in 1984, that he met the local District secretary, Ruth. Their friendship grew over the next few years, and they were married at Aldburgh in 1993.

By this time Stephen had left the teaching profession, and taken up a post with a company based in Mildenhall, so they moved to Coney Weston, and started to ring at Hopton. Ringing always formed an important part of his life and he was always proactive in promoting ringing wherever he was: he and Ruth rang regularly at a number of other towers in the area. He had a love of all aspects of ringing, and particularly enjoyed the camaraderie among ringers, and had many firm ringing friendships all over the country.

With the bells at Hopton becoming increasingly difficult to ring, Stephen was the driving force behind the project to rehang and augment the bells, organising all sorts of fundraising events. By the time the bells were taken out in March 2010, Stephen was already ill, having been diagnosed with a brain tumour in autumn 2009. Despite his illness, he played an active role in the project, and was there at the church every day offering moral support to the workers. It was a proud day for Stephen when the bells were brought back in June and he was in attendance once again to see the project through, and he enjoyed ringing the bells for services since.

Outside ringing, Stephen had many other interests, including a love of cricket (although he did not play much), badminton, swimming. As with many ringers, he also had a love of real ale, and enjoyed attending local beer festivals. In all, he loved life, and lived it to the full every day, even during his illness.

In December his condition worsened and he was admitted to hospital, and then was transferred to hospice care in January, where he died shortly afterwards.

Ironically, the weekend following his passing, Stephen had organised his annual Hopton ringers long weekend ringing holiday, and we decided that the weekend should go ahead, despite the sadness of the week’s events. We had a weekend Stephen would have been proud of, and scored an excellent quarter peal of Norwich, one of his favourite methods, dedicated to his memory.

Although only six of us could ring in the quarter, the rest of ‘the team’ would also like to be associated with it.

Stephen and Ruth spent many weekends with us in Leicestershire, and an Oadby area band rang a quarter dedicated to Stephen’s memory:

In addition many other peals and quarter peals have been rung in memory of Stephen, and the family would like to thank everyone who has taken part, and/or has sent their best wishes.


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Central Council of Church Bell Ringers