The Ancient
Society of
Est. 1637


As the Society cannot currently pay tribute to departed members at business meetings, memories and recollections are being collated here.

Andrew N Stubbs

(Elected 1961, died 2nd April 2020)

Phil Rogers:

I first met Andrew in the early 1970's at an Appleton Dinner. He and I always remembered the occasion because late in the evening at the hotel where many of us were staying Stan Mason, who was recovering from a serious heart attack, collapsed on the floor and lay immobile for some time. We feared the worst until eventually he got up and said "Fell over the bloody dog".

When I came to London in the early 1980's Andrew and I did not always hit it off. We both had strong views which we were not afraid to express and they did not always coincide. It was only when I became CY Secretary that I came to appreciate him fully.

He and I had been on opposite sides in the big rule change debate and I anticipated that relations could be difficult. Nothing could be further from the reality. From the first day he was wholly supportive and I learned his true quality. Not because he always agreed with me, which he didn't, but because his concern, like mine, was to do the best possible job for the Society and to work with the rest of the Officers to achieve that. For 6 years Andrew and I used to speak on the phone most weeks and I always felt better at the end of the conversation than I had at the start. His support continued when I took over from him as CY Treasurer. I am eternally grateful to him.

3 weeks ago today I had a conversation with Andrew at the CY Informal Dinner. I have no idea what we talked about and it doesn't matter. He and I pretty well always had a chat when we found ourselves in the same room and I thought this was just another in the sequence with many more to follow. I will miss him enormously.

Tony Kench:

When Andrew Stubbs stepped down as ASCY Treasurer in November 2006, he had completed a truly impressive 25 years' service. Secretaries are reckoned to have reasonable longevity in post, but Andrew was Treasurer with five of us. Of all past Treasurers only Albert Hughes ever served longer, 1919-56.

I first met Andrew in the early 1960s. He arrived in London three years ahead of me and we followed the same College Youths' path. We took part in the Tuesday practices, we joined the St Paul's Cathedral Guild together. We were asked into Society peals, doing our best to navigate the intense Moreton-Williams rivalry of the day. We became officers within a year of each other, Andrew preceding me as Junior Steward 1966-67 and as Master 1968-69. We particularly enjoyed being Stewards together under Phil Corby's avuncular Mastership 1967-68.

Andrew went on to become Treasurer in 1981, succeeding Stan Mason. It was a pleasure to rejoin him as a fellow officer later in the 1980s when I went through the chair again for the Society's 350th, and then again as Secretary in the 1990s. Much of what the Treasurer and Secretary do is behind the scenes. As Secretary I spoke to Andrew at least once a week to consult over the issues of the day, and I know my successors did too. Andrew was always objective, full of common sense, and we rarely disagreed. As many will know from other fields, it is of huge value to be able to share questions and compare conclusions in such a friendly and constructive way.

For the many members whose contact with the Society was mainly at the Annversary Dinner, they saw Andrew as Toastmaster. This was a role he fell into without any particular decision being made, but he proceeded to make it his own for a quarter of a century, wheezing into an annual succession of microphones after long Dinner Day pub sessions, but always getting it right on the night.

Andrew had also been visible to many as a long-standing Society Central Council Rep, and for his time as Director and Chairman of the Ringing World. Other members encountered Andrew if they fell behind with their peal fees. One of his more onerous tasks as Treasurer was to use his eye for detail in keeping a checklist of all Society peals rung, ensuring all the peal fees were collected, and getting all the details assembled for the peal book writer.

Others again mainly saw Andrew on a Sunday at St Paul's, which from the 1970s had been his main Society ringing activity. Long after he had moved to Birmingham with his job in the insurance industry, he still drove to London every other week in his smoke-filled company car for service ringing at St Paul's, and he was one of the mainstays of the lunchtime pub wit and wisdom. From Rising Sun to King Lud to Cockpit, Andrew's rigorous drinking ritual could be observed: each fresh pint stood untouched before him for exactly ten minutes. Then a quarter of it would be drunk in one go, and another ten minutes would go by. And so on (we timed him). One lunchtime someone was offering one more drink before afternoon ringing, and the other member of the round said he'd better just have a half because he had to drive home afterwards. "Hmm" said Andrew, "I've got further to drive than he has, I'll have a pint!"

Andrew continued regular service ringing at St Paul's until 2000, when he stepped down from active Guild membership, becoming an Honorary Member in 2001. He represented St Paul's eighteen times in the National 12-Bell Contest, winning twice in 1984 and 1996.

At Society business meetings Andrew enjoyed cultivating a rather Luddite air, once famously asking, when someone suggested Society records could be archived on CD-ROM, "what's a CD-ROM?" And he was certainly the last Treasurer to decline to be on email (only doing so much later in life). But the accounts were always clearly presented, the books always balanced, and we were always in the black.

Andrew had much to be proud of in his time as Treasurer. He served the Society and its members very well indeed, and enabled the Society to do financially all the things it wanted to do. He took great pride in the healthy state of the Bell Restoration Fund, which had been started by Stan Mason but which under Andrew's management went from strength to strength. A major contribution to that strength, which Andrew proposed, was to route London members' annual steepleage payments straight in to the BRF on a covenanted (now Gift Aided) basis. To mark Andrew's impending 25 years of service as Treasurer, a Mont Blanc pen set was presented to him at the 2006 Country Meeting in Birmingham.

May he rest in peace. He will be long remembered, and very well remembered.

Chris Kippin:

Andrew grew up in Birmingham and learnt to ring at Handsworth. He graduated from Oxford University in 1961 and moved to London to join Equity & Law Life Assurance Company as a trainee actuary. I first met him when we rang together in a Society peal of Pudsey Royal at Rochester Cathedral in December 1961, conducted by Wilfred Williams, and we rang many more together over the following years, including with the Flying Circus band. Andrew worked for Equity & Law for the whole of his working life, and although he gave up actuarial studies, he carved out a very successful career there, working variously in their head office buildings in London and High Wycombe. When the company decided to open another decentralised head office building in Coventry in the early 1980s Andrew moved back to the Midlands to take up a senior role there.

Although I knew Andrew for nearly 60 years, he was a very private person and I never felt that I got to know him really well. But we did have a number of things in common besides ringing, an interest in railways being one. For a short while I too worked for Equity & Law, and when I came to London for an interview it was Andrew, then in Personnel, who met me. In later years, due to various takeovers, we both found ourselves pensioners of the same insurance group.

Andrew will be much missed for his dedication to the Society, his integrity and wise counsel, and his dry sense of humour. I shall miss him as a friend of very long standing.

Clive Smith:

I am very saddened to hear this news. I cannot say I knew Andrew, however despite this I remember that he would always be able to greet me with a very friendly gesture despite probably not really knowing me at all, and this did make me feel more welcome in the society. Often we only know the value of those people when they are no longer with us and I suspect Andrew is very much in that category of people who, as a result, stand clear of others.

Laith Reynolds:

Andrew was a true gentleman, a great ringer and a good friend, personally and to international ringing. When I was first introduced to the ASCY both he and Jim Prior were very interested in what was happening in the world scene and convinced the Society that it was not necessary for up and coming international ringers to meet the exacting standards required of UK ringers to be elected to the Society.

Whenever I met Andrew he would always ask after my wife Jan, whom he would spend considerable time talking to when they met. He liked to keep up with our family activities.

There were, in the 1980s, a considerable number of senior CYs interested in encouraging overseas ringers and generating tours abroad, these also included Bill Cook, Andrew Wilby and George Pipe among others.

Andrew was an indefatigable ringing tourist and of his over 2,100 peals, 150 of these were outside the British Isles. Alan Regin, a fellow supporter of international ringing, advised me that to his knowledge of the 102 peals he had rung with Andrew, 97 were rung overseas.

At last year's CY dinner, my son Cameron Reynolds and myself were seated next to Andrew and we had considerable enjoyment reviewing some of his tours - although normally he was not someone to self-promote either his 25 years as Treasurer of the Ancient Society or his many ringing accomplishments, which included Birmingham, St. Paul's Cathedral and Oxford. It was very pleasing to see him honoured by the Society.

A sad ending to a notable life to be taken by Covid-19. He will be truly missed and remembered as a great supporter of ringing worldwide.

Andrew Corby:

All who knew Andrew will feel very sad to hear of his passing. I remember him as a fellow bell ringer, valued colleague and as a friend.

I rang seven peals with him, the first being of Prittlewell Surprise Royal at Prittlewell in 1965, which I conducted and which was arranged by my Father and Sister. I knew him in those days as a College Youth and regularly encountered him at meetings and practices. Like Andrew Wilby I remember the attempt to ring a long peal of London Royal at North Stoneham, which came to grief in the 15th course because of too many Andrews in the band (including me)! The convivial journey back afterwards with the other two Andrews and others in the buffet car on the train from Southampton to Waterloo came to an abrupt end as we realised we were going through Vauxhall, and we thought that we had only just left Southampton!

I recall attending the dinner at which Andrew was Master of the Society. He concluded his speech by saying that he was proud to say that he was Master of the Ancient Society of College Youths on their Dinner Day. That I think says tellingly how Andrew was loyal to the Society and never wavered in his support for it.

I rang a further six peals with Andrew, the last being at East Grinstead in 1989, but, after the mid seventies, I knew him more as a work colleague. I joined Equity & Law in 1976 and I came to know him well and work with him on some important projects. I thought of him as a valued colleague and friend. He sometimes stood his ground (as others have remarked) if he thought that he was right, but it was always with good humour. In those days many people worked for Equity & Law for their entire career as did Andrew and, as a result, he was well known and had many friends in the Company. He was Chairman of the Social Club for many years.

In 1998 Equity & Law merged with Sun Life, and we both left. However, every November since, there has been a Pensioners' Reunion lunch and we have both been to most of them. Andrew would always make sure he had seen me to have a chat at some point, before we all went our separate ways.

The many tributes to Andrew speak for themselves. I mourn his loss and honour his memory.

David Bleby:

It is strange how, for one who only visits the UK infrequently, a relatively small number of ringers stands out in one's memory. Andrew Stubbs was one of them. From the first College Youths practice I attended in 1975, through later practices, occasional College Youths events I was able to attend, a broken series of Central Council meetings, the Central Council Centenary and international striking competition and several College Youths and other UK tours of Australia, Andrew stood out always as a friendly, polite, helpful, welcoming and pleased-to-be-welcomed member of the band. He will, sadly, be missed.

Nigel Orchard:

Like his very many friends I greatly enjoyed and looked forward to Andrew's company.

I first met him about 1967 when I started bellringing with the Oxford University Society (OUS). Each year until recently I would meet him at The OUS annual dinner weekend in February, March 4th dinner weekend, on the OUS tour, on his May bank holiday Devon weekend, for a week's canal boat holiday, and in Devon again in the autumn for a call change striking competition with a scratch band of method ringers which, over about 25 years, managed to win once, came last once and achieved most places in between, I would often attend meetings of the OUS of which he was a distinguished president for many years and would ring with him in various peals. All these events left plenty of time for pub visits.

He was a great organiser of these get-togethers and a meticulous planner of each day's canal cruising, ensuring we always had time for a long pub lunch and evening. His roast lamb and his meat stews for dinner were excellently cooked and the breakfasts and lunches he provisioned lavishly. One went on a serious diet after these trips! His insistence on setting off each morning at 7 o'clock was less popular with the rest of the crew but it had always been done that way...

I was on the canal trip when he collapsed and nearly died. Until then his life was greatly centred around beer and ringing and I admired the way he adjusted to being able to enjoy neither of these.

In ordinary circumstances ringers would be flocking to arrange peals in tribute to him and any church would be packed for his funeral or memorial service. Sadly this cannot be but I'm sure it will happen as soon as it becomes possible. Meanwhile he will be often in our thoughts.

Richard Allton:

Overall Andrew rang 2184 peals, conducting 4. Just under one third of his peals were on 12 bells. He rang 405 of them with the Society. His first peal was Cambridge Major at Shirley in 1959. He was soon ringing with the Society, and the first Society peal was Spliced S Royal in 3m (CYP!) at Stepney in 1961 conducted by Wilfred Williams. The third peal was the Society's first peal of Londinium at Reading in 1963. He rang a wide variety of methods with the Society including the then record peal of 13968 Spliced S Maximus at Bradford in 1980, and the 6204 Stedman Cinques at Perth in 2003, using the original composition. He was also one of the Society's intrepid travellers, ringing peals in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and Ireland. His last peal with the Society was in 2011 at Reading, marking his 50 years' membership.

As mentioned by others, he rang in the Birmingham Thursday peals, including the first ever peal of Orion to name one. Additionally he rang two further record peals:

15699 Stedman Cinques at Birmingham in 10h30 in 1966

16559 Grandsire Caters at Appleton in 9h10 in 1968

Tudor Edwards was also in the band for the Appleton peal, and on seeing the peal board in the tower, I do remember wondering how both Andrew and Tudor lasted 9 hours and 10 minutes without a cigarette!

Derek Fowles

(Elected 1952, died 22nd March 2020)

Graham Firman:

I first met Derek on 29th September 1973 when I came to Bray, Berkshire, for a peal. Derek was the local who let us in and was in the band. I didn't know then, of course, that three years later I would be moving to the parish of Bray, joining the local band and ringing with Derek 3 or 4 times a week for the following 43 years.

At my first practice there in August 1976 there was no doubt about who was the mainstay of the band. Derek's wife Wenda was tower secretary and Derek was responsible for everything else: tower captain, treasurer, steeple keeper, clock winder amongst others. And that was the pattern of his life - if there was a job to be done Derek would be there to do it. Over the years others took on some of the roles in the tower, but Derek was deputy captain for many years as well as continuing as treasurer.

Derek was a tower captain's dream. He was always on time, could turn in the back bells well and, apart from his annual 2 weeks holiday, was always there. In fact, until recently, he was hardly ever absent due to illness - a fantastic record.

He learnt to ring at Cranford, Middlesex, in 1943 after the wartime ban on ringing was lifted. Later on he joined the 43ers, a group who all learnt to ring in that year, and went on many of their annual reunions. In 1967 he married Wenda, a local ringer at Bray, and their son, Colin, was born the following year. They bought a house in Holyport, a village in the Bray parish and he lived there for the rest of his life, taking a full part in church activities including PCC member, magazine editor and running the annual advent market.

Apart from ringing at his local towers, Derek also took a prominent role in Guild and branch activities. He was at various times Branch Ringing Master and Chairman in the Middlesex Association, and in the Oxford Diocesan Guild EBSB Branch Ringing Master, Branch Treasurer (1982 to 2003), Secretary of the Oxford Diocesan Bell Fund and 100 Club organiser. Even at the time of his death Derek was still Chairman and Treasurer of the EBSB Fund Raising Committee, a Trustee of the Oxford Diocesan Guild and a Managing Trustee of the ODG Restoration Fund.

The EBSB Fund Raising Committee runs a 'shop' selling items of interest to ringers as well as more general items. Derek and other members of the committee would take their shop to most ODG meetings as well as making appearances at non-ringing fetes and shows around the Guild area. Over the years they raised thousands of pounds for the ODG Bell Fund.

His interests were not confined to the church and ringing. He was an enthusiastic gardener, had a large allotment which he kept in impeccable order, and kept bees. There would be many times that Derek brought along a basket full of beans or other vegetables from his allotment for the ringers.

Derek was very proud of his College Youths membership. There is a lovely picture on our web site of the 1955 anniversary dinner. Derek is there in the centre with his ringing friends at the time - John Hill, Brooke Lunn, Frank Price, Mike and John Chilcott, Michael Moreton, and Jim Phillips amongst others.

Derek would have been the first to say that he wasn't a higher numbers ringer or a peal ringer (37 in total). However, he was a steady back-ender and the 'resident' ringer of the heavy Bray tenor for many years, ringing several hundred quarter peals on that bell. Over the years Surprise Major has increasingly featured in the repertoire of the Bray band and Derek was always keen to join in with ringing the method of the month and learn something new.

Derek was still ringing regularly at Bray until a couple of months before his death at the age of 93, having been a ringer for 77 years. To Wenda and Colin and his family we send our sincere sympathy.

R Roger Savory

(Elected 1952, died 13th March 2020)

Howard Smith:

Back in the last millennium when I was at Basingstoke, Roger conducted a peal of Grandsire Caters at Basingstoke when the CCCBR was still debating to count them or not and the peal recorder wouldn't anyway. Roger got our peal of Caters recognised because the composition was specifically designed for ringing on nine bells.

Rest in peace my friend.

Mary Clark:

Roger was an outstanding ringer who insisted all members of the band ring our best - or we would hear from him loudly and clearly! Underneath a somewhat gruff exterior, however, was a genuinely soft heart, a person who truly enjoyed each one of us, with a ready smile, and always happy to ring with his fellow ASCY or NAGCR ringers.

I missed Roger when he could no longer ring, and I am sad that he is now gone from us.

Chris Povey:

I first met Roger in the mid/late 1980s, when he made one of his visits back to the Vale of Evesham. He used to stay with Gerald Hemming, who arranged a few peals for them to ring in. I rang in some of these peals. I was immediately surprised by Roger's voice. He had been living in the USA for 30-odd years at that time, but he spoke like someone who had never been outside of his native area: just pure and unadulterated Vale of Evesham; not the slightest trace of American. Quite remarkable.

In 2004 Arthur Berry asked me if he could have the Bell Tower's light 10 for a peal of Grandsire Caters, so he could ring the then fairly-new extra treble and thus circle the tower. He said he had been given a composition by Roger many years previously and wanted to ring it with him in it to see whether he recognised it. Very soon afterwards Roger wrote to me asking for a peal on this 10, so that he, too, could ring the extra treble and circle the tower. I told Arthur about this and said he and Roger would have to fight over who would ring the extra treble.

The peal was arranged and Arthur agreed Roger should ring the treble as he was older and therefore might have fewer chances to do so - which shows how wrong you can be, as Arthur died not many years later. A very good band was arranged (it was an ASCY peal). Arthur called it from the 2nd. Gerald Hemming took hold of the 9th and I wondered how he would cope with ringing simple Grandsire Caters against fancy Surprise, but he was supreme. It was a cracking peal in the quickest time on this 10 - one of those peals that stick in one's memory. A joy to ring in it.

At the end Roger sat down on the tenor box and said, "Who was that by, Arthur?" I knew what was coming. With a trace of a smile, but without saying a word, Arthur eased himself over to his jacket hanging on a peg on the opposite wall, delved into an inside pocket and brought out an old, scruffy, white envelope, which was obviously from Roger and contained the comp. Again saying nothing, he eased himself back across the room towards Roger, who was still sitting on the tenor box. As he passed Roger he offered him the envelope; and as he did so he said, "Here you are. It's yours!" There was a lot of laughter. It was a truly classic moment to cap a truly classic peal.

As a footnote, the above peal was the last Gerald Hemming rang in the Tower. He died fairly soon afterwards. A peal of Grandsire Caters was rung at the Bell Tower by members of the W&DCRA in his memory using Roger's composition, with Arthur Berry this time calling it from the extra treble.

Michael Uphill:

I knew Roger originally through my various friendships in Worcestershire which was his home county. Others will have been much more closely involved for I met him, I think, on not many more than a dozen occasions, which included the ringing of four peals between 1967 and 1972. But he was one of those genuinely "nice" people who would always find time to chat as though you were an old friend. I can't remember whether I bumped into him on any of the CY UK tours (or even whether he attended any of them) but there is a wonderful story about the last time I can actually recall seeing him.

In 2008 I was in New York City to do some peal-ringing on the then relatively new bells at Trinity Church, Wall Street. I had arrived a few days early to spend some time with my cousin's daughter and her husband who live just outside the City. I had arranged with Tim Barnes, who was then the tower captain, to take them to the Wednesday practice. As you may know there are very strict instructions for entry to the church on practice night. If you're a bit late, you have to report to the receptionist in the foyer of the admin office to gain access. We found our way to the offices and as we walked through the large glass doors, chatting away, we saw the receptionist at his desk a few yards inside, talking to a man with his back to us who immediately turned round towards us saying, "I recognise that voice." It was Roger. My cousin's daughter was gob-smacked. Here we were in her city, having just walked into a gigantic skyscraper belonging to one of the world's richest churches and I, just in from London, get recognised by somebody who hasn't yet even seen me!

Just one of those unforgettable moments! And they enjoyed Roger's company, too.