John was a local lad, born and raised with a brother and sister in Hersham, Surrey. He sang from an early age and when aged 7 he became a boarder at the London Choir School where he sang at many London Churches. He later became a member of the choir at St Peter’s Church in Hersham, where he was also taught to ring by Bill Simmons in 1934. It was there that he met his wife Kitty.

He became a member of The Guildford Guild in 1936 and served as Chertsey District Assistant Ringing Master and Executive Committee Member from 1957¬1961. He remained a member of the Guild until he retired from ringing in 2004. He was Tower Captain at Hersham from 1957 until 1966. He rang 18 peals for the Guildford Guild between 1954 and 1966 mainly of Grandsire and Stedman Triples, Plain Bob and Kent Treble Bob Major.

Before the War he worked alongside his father in the City employed by a silk firm from Macclesfield but when war came he was called up for the army and joined an anti tank regiment (The Royal Artillery) where he became one of the Desert Rats in North Africa. Returning to the UK he took part in preparations for D-Day and was with some of the first troops to land in France. After the war he returned to Hersham, worked for Vickers Armstrong at Weybridge and resumed both ringing and singing in the Choir.

John was always very active and he loved swimming and tennis as well walking and cycling. When they retired to Whitely Village in 1986 he and Kitty threw themselves into village life, joining the bowling club, the church choir, amateur dramatics as well as enjoying walking in the woodland around the village. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 2004 with a message from the Queen.

Genebeth Webb

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Central Council of Church Bell Ringers