Gordon Lawrence of Bromham

He has been a change ringer for over 70 years, he being taught to ring as a teen-ager at Cranford, Middx . His work brought him to live at Lacock, Wiltshire and he was a member of the Lacock band and of the G B D R.

A move of house many years ago brought him, and Barbara, to live in Bromham. They both then joined the S D G R, and they both became loyal members of the Bromham band, for the last 30 years.

Gordon has been a trustee for the Calne Branch bell fund for many years, and a supporter of the branch throughout his membership. This quite often meant playing the organ for the services at branch meetings.

With the advance of old age Gordon is no longer able to ring and I wish for his name to be put forward at the guild A G M for Honorary Life Membership, he having given valuable service to the Branch for many years.

Peter Baker of Westbury

Peter had two important milestones in 2015. Firstly he learnt to ring in 1965; 50 years ago and secondly he was elected Tower Captain at Westbury, one of the world’s finest rings of eight bells, 30 years ago in 1985.

Peter was taught to ring at Westbury, by the then Tower Captain, Trevor Holloway, and Peter succeeded Trevor as Tower Captain after Trevor became too ill to continue in the post. Peter has remained a member of the Westbury band throughout his ringing career.

Peter joined the Devizes Branch Committee in 1992 when he was elected Branch Treasurer a post he retained until 2003 when he moved on to the position of Branch Chairman, retaining this post until 2010.

When the LEBRF became a charity in 1999 Peter was regarded as the perfect nominee as the Trustee for the Devizes Branch and has remained in this post to date. Furthermore Peter was elected as Chairman of the Trustees in 2014.

In light of Peter’s long service to Westbury Church, the Devizes Branch and the LEBRF the Devizes Branch members have no hesitation in nominating Peter Baker for election as an Honorary Life Member of the Guild.

Tim Collins of Bradford Peverell

Tim Collins is probably the best ringer ever produced by the SDGR, a man who has excelled in almost all the departments of change ringing. Locally he is regarded as a charismatic leader who has taught many people to ring and has arranged and called first quarter peals for many hundreds of recruits and getting more than 150 ringers through their first peal. However, many local ringers do not realise just what a well-known figure and how highly regarded Tim is on the national level of advanced ringers.

From the inception of the SDGR, its leading members were active in peal ringing at a national and local level: James Jerram, Thomas Blackbourn and William Gifford to name but a few. If one studies the history of most guilds the prolific peal ringers have often been the leaders and ringing masters within the guild, our guild being no exception. A ringer’s ability as a change ringer has often been judged by the number of peals they have rung (probably this is a direct measure of the amount of time they spend practising the art). Tim has rung far more peals for the SDGR than any other person, at the end of April his total stood at 567, more than 200 ahead of his nearest rivals, Graham Elmes and Bob Purnell. None of the older pre-war ringers got near their totals, the leaders Fred Slatford, Charles Andrews and Bill Shute all rang less than 200 peals for the SDGR.

On the national stage Tim has rung 3262 peals with about 1550 different ringers, calling about 80% of the total making him the 9th most prolific conductor. He is 3rd in the list of “tenor ringers” and became the second man to ring peals on a 1000 different tenors last year. He has rung peals on 30 tenors weighing more than two tons and he has had incredible stamina ringing difficult tenors in in 6 and 8 bell towers: an 18cwt bell with worn bearings in a loose frame can be far harder work than a two ton tenor. Tim has rung many of his peals on such bells. He has rung peals on all the ringable Dorset bells and his ambition is to complete all the ringable bells in the Diocese, though there are a few towers that make this unlikely. Many of his peals have been rung with the leading ringers of the last 30 years and his abilities as a tenor ringer and conductor were well appreciated by such figures as Wilfred Williams, George Pipe and Pat Cannon.

Tim learnt to ring in 1966 at Charminster under the tutelage of Ernest Amey becoming a member of the Guild that year. He rang his first peal in 1967. Tim is always keen to link the generations in ringing and in the 1990s he became a great friend of Dennis Bishop, one of the leading Dorset ringers of the 1930s.

Robin Mears of Puddletown

Robin started to learn to ring in November 1965, being taught at St Peter’s, Dorchester by the captain, Richard Duke.

He moved to Charminster in January, 1966, ringing with, among others, Ernest Amey. Robin was elected a member of the SDGR in April 1966 and rang at Charminster until 1976. Robin and his mother and father then moved back to Puddletown to ‘keep St Mary’s bells going’.

Since his father died in 2003 Robin has been the tower captain at Puddletown, carrying out bell maintenance, winding the clock and attending to the flag.

Between 1972 and 2005 Robin rang 13 peals, 12 of these being for the Salisbury Diocesan Guild.

Malcolm Penny of Broadchalke

I asked Malcolm when he learnt to ring and when he became a member of the Salisbury Guild and he could not remember but he thinks he was elected a member sometime around 1965. He learnt to ring as it was the only activity in the village. Apparently all the village boys were encouraged to join up, and he recalls walking home and saying to another lad, “Are you going bell ringing tonight?”

He rang his first quarter peal Sept 17th 1972 ringing the treble to Grandsire Doubles and his first peal on June 22nd 1996

He was elected on to the branch committee in 1992 and that year was given the job of branch Training officer/ co-ordinator attending numerous meetings at Semley where the Guild training committee would meet to sort out where, when and what courses would be held and who would be the tutors for those courses. He then became a helper at these courses and eventually a tutor, running some of these courses. He was elected as Salisbury branch ringing master in 1995 and has held this office ever since, a period of some twenty one years. He also came up with the idea of a branch skittles / social evening which he organised in the early days.

His practices at Broadchalke on a Thursday morning are legendry in the way they have increased all ringer’s knowledge of methods. From running this practice Malcolm has raised well over £500.00 in funds to buy a branch simulator for Broadchalke tower

So over the years he has been quietly supporting practices, teaching events and branch activities and also ringing for services, quarters and peals across the Guild. It seems that Malcolm is known in many towers across the Guild. He is very modest and rarely lets anyone know what he is doing to support ringing in the Guild. He has stepped up to hold a number of different branch offices over the years, particularly when it seemed no one else would, in addition to being ringing master for twenty one years.

Ringing in the Salisbury branch would be in very poor state if he were to give up everything he does.

So it is with great pleasure The Salisbury Branch propose Malcolm Penny for Honorary Life Membership of the Salisbury Diocesan Guild of Ringers.

David Todd of Stratford sub Castle

David was taught to ring in 1951 some 65 years ago at Amesbury by Fred Harvey, the tower captain there, along with Mike Love and others. From around the mid 1950s until 1963 when he got married and left Amesbury and moved to Stratford sub Castle, where David wound the clock and made new stays when necessary.

When he arrived in Salisbury he started to go to Wilton practices where he learnt the art of change ringing.

David has helped out at Barford St Martin, taught at Compton Chamberlayne, Winterslow, Winterbourne Earls (Where he made and changed the headstocks and changed the plain bearing for ball races) and Hindon. He has made stays for most of the Salisbury branch towers. If ever you want a new stay in the Salisbury Branch go to David and he will make you one.

But David’s greatest achievement are the 6 bells at Stratford sub Castle. Acting on the suggestion of Ian Wilson and backed by his promise to come up with £10,000, he started a project to get 6 bells there. He went to the PCC and they said they wanted nothing to do with the project but would allow it to go ahead if David was successful in raising the funds. He applied to the “Ringing in the Millenium” fund and subsequently got 50% of the £36,000 required. With Ian’s £10,000 this left only £8,000 to go. He, as he puts it, walked around the village one Saturday afternoon and asked villagers what they thought of the project. The outcome was that he was able to raise donations for the other £8,000. Only one person ever spoke against the idea suggesting the money would be better spent elsewhere. A public meeting was held which gave its blessing to the idea. He called for volunteers to learn to ring and about five came to be taught at St Thomas’s for this. In consequence they had a band ready to go in 1998 when the bells were finally installed. David of course helped with the installation in his usual way.

As many of you will know David does not keep the best if health and cannot ring much these days so it is with great pleasure The Salisbury Branch propose David Todd for Honorary Life Membership of the Salisbury Diocesan Guild of Ringers.

John Bull of Burton Bradstock

John’s name was likewise passed to me (Ivan Andrews) for verification by Basil Dent, tower captain.

He has completed 67 years of ringing having learnt at Banbury, Oxford aged 15 and ringing there until his move to Burton Bradstock in 1987, since when he has been a regular and faithful member at Burton Bradstock tower. He also rings handbells (tunes) and although he sadly had to retire from tower ringing a few months ago aged 82, did still ring handbells for the Christmas season. Total years SDGR just short of 30 years.

E.G. Fry – proposal for 50 years as a ringer in SDGR

Eddie has completed 70 years of ringing, mainly at Litton Cheney (Dorchester Branch) and latterly at Burton Bradstock (West Dorset Branch).