27th May 1932 - 19th February 2011

From the Andover District Newsletter:

Michael was born in 1932 and lived and worked in the Newbury area all his life. He left school at 15 and served his apprenticeship as an electrician working for what became the SEB until he retired.

Mike was taught to ring around 1944 by Fred Gosling at Burghclere. He joined the Guild in 1952. Mike met and married Betty in the 1950s and enjoyed almost 60 years of marriage.

Mike enjoyed coarse fishing with David his son. He became enthusiastic about motor bikes and could always be counted on to rescue his sons, David and Richard when they broke down. He offered his services as a mechanic when Richard took up scrambling.

Mike’s other passion was bellringing. In 1967 he taught David to ring and became more active in the Andover District scene. 1969 after Fred Gosling’s death he became tower captain at Burghclere. He also became District Secretary holding office until 1981. He became a Life Member in 2002.

Mike rang in the first all Andover District band of Major. He helped organise a coach to the first W&P Guild dinner. He regularly rang at Highclere and helped out at many other towers. It was thanks to Mike that a new band of ringers that were taught at Burghclere and in more recent times often helped out on Guild Education days. In recent years he went on ringing holidays.

In 1944 the ringing scene was very different from today. The bells were silent during the war and many ringers were called to fight. It was at this time that new ringers were taught and contributed to the revival of change ringing after the war. Without ringers like Mike Goss ringing probably would be quite different in the 21st Century. Mike could always be counted on to give help whenever he could. In the tower, at meetings, training new ringers and transporting ringers to new towers.

The Andover District will miss him, but give thanks for all he did and what he was. A quiet, ordinary man to whom we owe such a lot for bellringing to be where it is today in the Andover District.

When we moved to Broughton in 1971 Mike was the very efficient District Secretary. Quite soon afterwards Geoff Dodd invited me to conduct an attempt to ring the first District peal of Surprise Major at Whitchurch. We were successful and that was my first with Mike. In total I rang perhaps half a dozen with him, he was always reliable.

In recent years Mike was a stalwart of the Guild Mid Monthly Meetings and was a willing volunteer to go on the organizing rota.


Although I had only known Mike for comparatively short time, I soon gained an abiding impression of someone with a kind and thoughtful nature. He was one of those who could often be relied upon to come on tower or District outings, participate in quarter peals and turn out for any other ringing occasion, even if it wasn’t of particular benefit to him. If I was short of a ringer or two for any particular occasion Mike would often be the one that would give me a useful lead. A highlight for me was knowing the delight that Mike felt when I called the first peal of one his protégés, Simon Lipscombe. At a District practice last year I was pleasantly surprised when Mike exclaimed in his usual quiet manner that the touch of Stedman Triples I had just called enabled him to make his first single – one never stops learning!

St Mary Bourne, Hants

I had known Michael nearly all my life.

My father, Frederick Gosling, taught Michael to ring in 1943 (before I was born!) but I was carried up into the tower at Burghclere at quite a young age. I was taught to ring at about 11 years old and so became a member of a very strong band at Burghclere.

Michael had a good sense of humour, although I understand from him that at times he tried my father’s patience to the limit! However, he was a natural and talented bellringer and a most valuable member of the band.

When my father died in 1969 he had been captain at Burghclere for 35 years and Michael took over from him. Shortly after this I was married and moved away from Burghclere. However, having later moved to the south side of Newbury I was asked to rejoin the Burghclere tower some 16 or so years ago. Although I could still remember Grandsire Doubles and Bob Doubles, Michael’s help and encouragement meant I was able to learn other methods and I shall always be grateful to him for this.

He will be greatly missed by all of us at Burghclere.

Burghclere, Hampshire

Mike was a great help to us over the years by coming and adding some much-needed experience and skill to our practices, and he used to bring others, most notably Simon Lipscombe, with him. He was also a great help to me personally, starting from the time I moved here and took up ringing again after a gap of ten years. He encouraged me to go to other practices, not least Burghclere’s, and remained a kindly advisor right up to the time he became ill last Autumn.

A quarter of PB Doubles was rung in celebration of Mike Goss’s life on Sunday 6 March before the Evening Service. Whitchurch, Hampshire


Michael James Goss 1932-2011

Burghclere Tower Captain

Sixty-four years is a long time but I had known Mike since we were both fourteen. His ringing was more advanced than mine when I first knew him but much later he told me that he had learnt the bell numbers. He always rang No.3 whilst all I was capable of at that time was to hunt the treble to Grandsire Doubles and Bob Minor. Their band was expert at ringing Grandsire Doubles; the same 120 changes, all having their own bells.

He will be sadly missed in the District having given continuous service at Burghclere apart from two years National Service. It was during this that he married Betty who was almost as familiar a figure as he was. Mike and Betty had two sons, David and Richard both of whom married and had families of their own so they were grandparents several times over. Although it was expected, his death on Saturday, 9th February at the Hospice in Tilehurst still came as a shock.

Mike served as District Secretary for a good many years in the early seventies and was very efficient in this job organising a coach load to go to the Guild Annual Dinner at the Royal Hotel, Southampton assisting in filling the coach and organising the overnight accommodation.

Another trip he organised was to Edinburgh with ringing at Wigan and Lancaster on the way and Inverary our first tower in Scotland where we had to fit our own ropes. Along with Angela Brown he organised several five day ringing tours for a party, most of whom came from Somerset. Angela and Mike would suss out the towers first and find a convenient hotel to stay in.

Mike was a good Surprise ringer and without him we would not have been able to achieve as much as we have at our Tuesday night practices at Highclere. Everyone counted on Mike and he was seldom missing unless it was through illness or holiday.

He leaves a gap in our ranks which will be hard to fill at Highclere and even more so at Burghclere where he was the leading light and Captain for so many years that he was in this office more than he was out.

And so the years have rolled by and on Friday 4th March 2011 we said our last farewells at Burghclere where the bells were rung by the local band many of whom he helped train, as well as many District members. A quiet, unassuming man; he will be sadly missed.


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