8th August 1920 - 8th September 2011

Dear lady, you of simple grace,
This is your tower, and this the place
Where through long years you rang the bells,
Which now, as day fades into night in twilight’s hush
Peal out their last farewells.

Perhaps the spirit roaming free
Will catch familiar strains, and know that we
Keep memory in time’s embrace,
The memory of you held in this place,
Dear lady of a simple grace.


These lines were written by the husband of one of the ringers of a quarter peal rung in memory of Elsie, while the quarter was being rung at Polstead, Suffolk. They sum up the feelings of the ringers on that occasion so well.

Elsie learned to ring when the ban was lifted after the Second World War. She rang at Polstead and got on her bike to ring at Nayland, Stoke by Nayland and further afield. She worked hard to help the fund-raising efforts when the bells at Polstead were re-hung in the fifties. During her long ringing career of more than 50 years she rang a large number of quarter peals and two peals. Her main interest, however, was in ringing every Sunday for service. She did this until back problems forced her to stop ringing soon after her 85th birthday. After that she continued to come to practice nights, to support the rest of us, almost till the end of her long life.

Elsie worked for the church all her life. She was churchwarden for 25 years, organiser of flower rotas, chief arranger of flowers for weddings, mower of the churchyard – you name it – she did it. She was a mine of information about the running of the church.

In 2009 she was chosen to attend the Maundy Service, held that year at the Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds. It was a proud day for her to receive the Maundy money from HM the Queen. The ringers will always remember the next practice night when Elsie brought her Maundy money to the tower to show everyone.

Elsie was an active member of the village community up until the day she died. She will be very much missed by us all.


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Central Council of Church Bell Ringers