Bob learnt to ring at Downton in 1956 at the age of 14. It is thought he has been a member since 1960 although there are no records showing his Guild membership until 1969.
From the time he first learnt to ring Bob has supported the Church and ringing at Downton. Since becoming Tower Captain in 2005 he has faithfully encouraged ringing for weddings, festivals and other occasions as well as ensuring the ringing of the bells Sunday by Sunday. He has organized tower outings and looked after the maintenance of the bells. Bob has taught many ringers over the years both young and the not so young. He has always encouraged them to improve and progress in all aspects of their ringing. Amongst those he has taught more recently were twins who went onto University where they continued to ring and are now peal ringers.
Bob has always supported the Salisbury Branch: hosting Branch AGM’s, Practices and other events and has always encouraged his ringers to participate in Branch events including Striking Competitions. As well as teaching ringers at Downton he has also helped in the teaching at neighbouring towers. Recently he was asked to help at Breamore and he has taught a number of the locals to ring thus enabling the bells there to continue ringing for services and the many weddings that take place. He has supported the recent bell restoration at Breamore. Whilst work was in progress at Breamore he invited the ringers to Downton to continue their training. He has always encouraged the ringers to support Guild events.
Bob has faithfully served ringing in Downton and further afield. He is always welcoming to newcomers and is always ready to learn from those with more expertise than him. Without his dedication and commitment the bells at Downton could well have been silent since 2000 when a number of the ringers left the tower. Bob took over the reins and has slowly built up a local band of ringers. It is a tribute to him that last year a local band was able to ring a Quarter Peal to celebrate his 60 years of ringing and devotion to the service of ringing.
Aged 92 last December. He learnt to ring in 1969. Member of SDGR – April 1975, when tower became reaffliated. He has Tower Captain since 1974. He is an energetic member of the Branch responsible for organising and running raffles at meetings. His tower made available for meetings and striking competitions. Branch Committee member 1996-2014. Throughout his years as Tower Captain Basil he has maintained a well rung tower. A regular band of ringers, regular practices and ringing for Sundays and special occasions without fail. Despite his advanced years Basil remains firmly at the helm. His continuing energy ensures teaching and recruitment – with a steady band of 16 members to date. In view of his untiring work and devotion his band has asked that he be given HLM status – with affectionate thanks.
The Marlborough Branch would like to propose Chris Barnes of Aldbourne be made an HLM of the Guild. Chris learned to ring in 1964 at Aldbourne and has been a member of the Guild since 1966, he also rang regularly at Chiseldon. He was Branch Secretary and Treasurer, when it was a combined post, from 1971 to 1976 and from 1982 to 1987. He has been a ringer at Aldbourne for 52 years, was the Tower Correspondent for 10 years and has been the steeple keeper, probably for at least 40 years. He is very well known and greatly valued in the Branch, always ready to help out at any tower. He now mostly rings the tenor at Aldbourne.