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Ron has rung borough bells for 57 years

By Brentwood Gazette  |  Posted: March 07, 2013

  • A-PEEL-ING ACTIVITY: Ron Brown won a civic award for his work as a bell ringer at the ripe old age of 88

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RON Brown, who has won a lifetime achievement award, may be nearly 90 but there is no slowing down for the veteran bell ringer.

The 88-year-old has been a campanologist for the past 57 years, during which he has taught hundreds of men and women the art.

Mr Brown, who is currently the Tower Master at St Thomas' Church, Navestock and St Paul's in Bentley Common, also rings at five other churches in the borough.

On at least four nights a week, he can be found teaching all levels of ringers from beginners to the more accomplished.

Mr Brown, who lives in Pilgrims Hatch, explained how it all started when he was 32.

He said: "It was just something I was fascinated in doing and you meet all sorts of people.

"The fellowship among bell ringers is well documented.

"You can go to any town in the country and be totally welcomed by bell ringers there.

"The main problem we have is getting enough recruits. There are seven churches in Brentwood and they all need more bell ringers.

"The time commitment is probably the main we reason we are suffering a shortage of people."

Mr Brown added: "You don't have to be musical but you have to have a certain amount of memory, rhythm and co-ordination.

"Some people can get fairly competent within six weeks but others might take six months."

He added: "You don't even have to be particularly strong.

"The knack is to get the timing of the bells so the weight of it works with you."

Ronnie Crighton, who nominated him, wrote in his citation: "He has been a member of the Essex Association of Change Ringers for a good number of years and through the association he has taught and developed a network of ringers through the country.

"At my own tower in Ingrave, Ron and a small band kept the bells ringing, even though for one reason or another local interest had waned.

"Gradually, through hard work and persistence, a new band of ringers started and more importantly stayed to keep up the tradition of bell ringing.

"Recently one of our ringers was in Coventry cathedral to ring."

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