Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sgt. Ronald Fowler (RAF).

Sgt. Ronald Fowler (RAF).
I never actually met Ron Fowler as my interest in bell ringing did not start until the near the end of World War Two. Ron joined the RAF at the beginning of the war as a Air Gunner in a bomber squadron, and like so many young men was killed in action.
Ron was married and use to live next door to his mother and father at # 2. Black Butts Cottages. He had one son that I know of, Robert who followed a few years after me at Holy Trinity School.
It was Ron's skill as a ringer in the technical workings of Campanology, but his skill in ringing a variety of methods as well not only on Cookham's six bells as it was then but, on other towers with eight and ten bells. His skill as a ringer in peals were well known, but also as a conductor as well.
After the war an appeal was made to increase the towers six bells to a ring of eight. The the amount required was six thousand pounds to upgrade the six existing bells from plain bearings to roller-race bearings, plus the casting of two new treble bells. One of which was inscribed and dedicated to Sgt. Ronald Fowler.
As a matter of interest the appeal reached it's target within just one month, and was so disappointed that she had missed the appeal, she asked John Fowler if there was anything else he would like for the tower. He said that the ringing chamber could use a new carpet and ringing mats. Shortly after the the work on the bells had been completed a new carpet complete with underlay was professionally fitted.
Some of you will wonder what ringing mats are use for? While the bells are being rung a certain amount of the bell rope will hit the carpeted floor. This in time will wear that portion of the carpet out. So it is much easier to replace a set of mats than a complete carpet.
Oh yes! One other thing that was completed to cut the noise down in the ringing chamber was a false ceiling with new rope guides. How do I know. Well John Fowler did the work and I was his helper. Plus we painted the whole of the ringing chamber walls with a white limewash as prescribes by church architects. Very similar to the limewash used in cowsheds and milking parlours on the farm.

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