8th August 1927 – 28th May 2012

Don was born in Croydon and in 1936 he contracted Diphtheria which in those days was a major child killer. He recovered but was unable to enjoy any sport until 16 years of age.

He attended Whitgift Middle School from where he qualified to read for a degree in Mathematics from Queen Mary College.

He subsequently took his teaching Diploma from London University Institute of Education and after qualification he was appointed to Brighton, Hove & Sussex Grammar School in 1949. This suited Don so much that he stayed there till retirement in 1985.

During his time there Don was Head of Junior School, Deputy Head and Vice-Principal of the newly formed VI Form College. During an interregnum he was acting Principal.

In 1950 Don married Betty, who he had first met at Whitgift. They moved to Burgess Hill and had two daughters, Wendy in 1953 and Jennifer in 1957.

By now Don had joined the Choir at St. John the Evangelist, the Parish Church in Burgess Hill, and had a fine Baritone voice. In 1958, at the request of the then Vicar, Don and ten others agreed to become ringers so that the bells could be rung for services.

At the same time Ken & Stella Knight joined the band to help teach the recruits. Don learnt quickly and helped teach many more recruits over the years. Including his wife and two daughters.

Over the years Don held all the various posts on the Tower Committee and became a long serving member of the SCACR for 50 years.

Don did not ring any peals but rang 28 quarter peals, one of which was at Wivelsfield. In the early 1970’s he formed a hand bell team, ringing from sheet music, and was Hand bell Captain from 1974-1999. Money to buy the 37 bells from Whitechapel was raised mainly by collecting & selling wastepaper. It is hoped to have the hand bells ringing again for St. John’s 150th celebration next year.

Don rang his last quarter peal in 2007, in 2008 he gave up as Tower Treasurer. He had taken over from his wife, Betty, in 2004. Following Betty’s death in 2004 Don still continued to ring and enjoyed the company. By 2008, after several bouts of ill health, the tower stairs became harder to climb and Don finally had to give up ringing. He always came to our AGM and took a keen interest in all aspects of ringing.

Further spells of ill health followed and his final days were spent in St Peter & St James Hospice in Wivelsfield where he passed away peacefully on 28th May 2012.

On the day of Don’s funeral the bells were rung half muffled before and after the service. Ken Knight, a past SCACR Master and the present Master David Kirkcaldy were present. In 1966, when David first went to Brighton, Hove and Sussex Grammar School, he began in Don’s class. Don was then Head of Lower School.


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