1939 - 2011

Colin was born on 26th November 1939 at The Row, Felmersham and attended local schools. During his youth he drove tractors at Cooks Farm, a nice little earner. His interests included train spotting and campanology: he took up ringing aged 16, becoming tower captain at Felmersham, remaining so for 55 years.

His first peal was on Christmas Day 1956 on the old five at Oakley, conducted jointly by John Long and Peter Shipton, and this was the first peal by a Felmersham ringer in living memory.

In due course he conscientiously served the local Bedford District as Secretary from 1965 to 1973 and also a brief period as Ringing Master, total service on the committee of a quarter of a century. He taught numerous people to handle a bell, and his much-thumbed ‘Dove’ indicates that he had ‘grabbed’ over 1,000 towers. His peal total was 32, his last being in November 2010 on the eve of his 71st birthday: this was Cambridge Major inside, he was delighted to have achieved this. He liked to ring ‘n minus 2’ since he preferred the start of this bell in most methods, and was often to be seen on the 6th at Eaton Socon on practice nights. He arranged wedding ringing at Felmersham, and kindly helped good friend and work colleague of many years Derek Eddy obtain ringers for weddings at Cardington, one of his favourite rings of bells.

After leaving school he work for W. H. Allen, Bedford, as a welder and diesel fitter, and then at RAE Thurleigh and Mektron Ltd.

Colin met Jean Fuller of Bedford, at ringing sessions and they married at St Mary’s Felmersham on 1st April 1961. They moved to George Street, Clapham, subsequently having two sons. Jean died in early 2003.

John Long relates a time when Colin was in his car queuing to go over the single-lane bridge at Radwell. John and his partner Jeremy were waiting in their car at the opposite end. A well known GP and anaesthetist, Dr Ross, was driving the car in front of Colin. Colin thought the doctor’s car was moving off – and drove into the back of it. The doctor became very animated! Colin was later to repeat this unfortunate kind of encounter elsewhere with Pam Bailey’s brand-new Fiat!

Colin much enjoyed a holiday in Tenerife with Graham Ridgway and no doubt appreciated the local ladies.

One incident I am sure Colin would forgive me for retelling (and at which I think he would grin) was at a Biggleswade District evening ringing session at Northill, a heavy six. He had just rung the tenor rather indifferently (it isn’t easy to strike, and he missed a dodge) to some Bob Minor, and was reproved by the Ringing Master. A little later Cambridge was called for, and Colin made for ‘n minus 2’. A well known local lady ringer, a Cumberland Youth and first lady Master of the Peterborough D.G., asked Colin for assurance that he knew the method, to which he replied ‘I rang a quarter peal of it this morning’. Well known lady ringer, with feeling: “Well, God Help You!”

Some will also recall an incident during ringing at Kempston when a bird was caught (and released) using his ‘chav’ baseball cap: the creature had come down a rope hole.

In late 2010 Colin moved into sheltered accommodation in Rushden. He developed an interest in buying his home consumables inbulk and was on first-name terms at Costco in Milton Keynes. He also became fascinated by IT and used his computer to keep in touch on a daily basis with his sister in law in Canada and other friends and relatives. Sadly it was discovered that he had oesophagal cancer, and though he doggedly continued ringing despite being able to eat only very little, and despite surgery, from this he succumbed in Leicester Royal Infirmary on 11th December last year, aged 72, his son Martin at his side.

Colin had received considerable support in recent years from Pam and Paul Bailey, ringers of Rushden, who assisted him with bills, domestic and medical matters, and latterly took him to ringing events in their car when it became difficult for him to drive.

The funeral, taken by Revd David Mason who had known Colin for many years, was at Bedford Crematorium on 17th January 2012, attended by a large number of his friends and family. Open ringing was laid on at Goldington, and a wake was held in Rushden, where many exchanged their happy memories of Colin.

On Sunday, 12th February a peal of 5072 Stedman Cinques was attempted at St Paul’s Bedford, another ring of which he was fond, to Colin’s memory, but sadly was lost. A quarter peal was rung, good ringing dedicated to a good person who cared about his friends. He would have been touched that a Past Master of the College Youths conducted. Seven other quarters were rung to accommodate his ringing friends from Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire.

Rest in peace Colin, you will be sadly missed.


This obituary was written after a long delay during which we were anticipating one from another party to appear.

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