John was born at 10 Station Road, Countesthorpe and attended the local school, before going on to Lutterworth Grammar School, He was given bell handling lessons when he was ten years old but, living just round the comer from the church, he helped himself to bell handling practice ad lib!

It was on 13th October 1945 he rang his first peal on the 5th at Cosby; Plain Bob Minor conducted by Charles Marshall. Later in the 1940s his peal ringing increased and on 17th September 1949 he rang the 4th at Gilmorton to 13024 Bristol Surprise Major conducted by W. P. Whitehead! He rang in my first of London S Major on the 8th November 1951 at Loughborough Bellfoundry. When we pulled the tenor off we had a drenching, it was full of water! It would seem that John did not keep a record of his peals however he had taken part in well over 100 by the early 1950s.

In 1955 John married the love of his life Jane. They were blessed with four children: David, Sarah, John and Louise, eleven grandchildren and three great grandchildren. They moved to Thurlaston in 1966 and it was at this time that he started ringing handbell peals with Alf Ballard, Walter Whitehead, and the Vernon twins (John and Mick). He also rang peals and quarters of Surprise Minor to Royal with us at Sapcote.

John first worked as a rating officer for the local council. He then, as he said, got a ‘proper job’ with Dunlop. Later on he was given the job as manager to sort out R.E. Components at its Sapcote factory. John soon brought them round to profit; he never did things by half.

After retirement John and Jane moved to Crowland to be near their daughter, and John rang a few quarter peals with the Market Deeping ringers. About two years ago their daughter moved to Uppingham. The family then moved mam and dad to a bungalow to be near them. After the move John’s health prevented him from ringing.

John died in Kettering hospital on 18th September. The funeral was at Uppingham Parish Church on 28th September. Grandsire Doubles was rung during the service on handbells. A quarter peal was rung as the cortege left the church and during the committal at the graveside.

Michael Brown

BB BellBoard
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers