Saturday 25th June 2022

Don Price
9th February 1930 – 14th May 2022

Revised 12/6/2022.

There will be many able to recount in more detail Don’s far reaching bell ringing achievements and expertise as a Ringer. Richard Munning’s blog on the Suffolk Guild website being one such example. As at the 24th May Bell Board was showing 2 peals and 8 quarters having been rung in Don’s memory.

St Edmund’s, Southwold Band’s tribute is a more local perspective on a man whose numerous technical and craft skills were renown in the area. As many of us know full well, Don excelled in hand and church bell ringing, but it was his caring and enabling manner that will be long remembered.

Don and Helen moved with their family of four from Kimpton, near Hitchin in Hertfordshire to Reydon in 1973. One attraction being to spend more time sailing. Don had been a teacher and also ran his own carpentry business. He continued in this line of work. He became involved in many a project; ready to take on the challenge of church interiors, the Electric Picture Palace cinema; barn conversions, staircases, display materials etc. etc. Truly a master craftsman.

Don had hoped to follow a career as an architect, but his studies were interrupted by National Service. He was deployed by the Royal Engineers to assess structural damage by the British to often grand buildings in Austria. This to help determine the level of reparation. His local driver remained a lasting friend.

Don’s interests also extended to steam powered traction engines. Perhaps unsurprising, given that his father had driven the Flying Scotsman.
 
Don became a teacher of wood and metal work at Reydon High School, shortly after arriving. He was one of the highly regarded teachers at the school, who shaped the lives of many a local tradesman, as well as the less practical!

Don was 12 when he started ringing in 1942 at Hatfield. War had placed an embargo on all ringing for the duration. In his own words Don wrote the following:
“Most folks of my age, who learned to ring at that time, were taught on tied bells that you could not hear, so methods were rung by rope sight alone.”
Amazingly, he became a member of the Ancient Society of College Youths’ in 1945, when only 15. He is known also to have rung at St Paul’s.

Not only was he an accomplished ringer, but he had the ability to share his knowledge in an encouraging way, with those willing to learn. His kindness and patience has often been mentioned.

Philip Moyse, now living and working in Bristol, tells of a conversation with Don after his first 8 bell peal in 2009 – “they get easier the more you ring!”.

David Hewitt, who returned to Northumberland many years ago, writes of Don’s thoughtfulness and generosity on the day he arrived in Reydon with his family. Oh and Don’s Citroen 2CV that took ringing passengers to other venues.

St Edmund’s, on any Friday evening in the 1980s, was a meeting place for experienced ringers from near and far. Don was someone who helped attract those who enjoyed a challenge, but he never overlooked those of us who were learning. Afterwards, the augmented band would retire to the snug at the rear of The Crown, or the slightly more upmarket Swan, before it was modernised.

For a time he was the North East District Secretary and enjoyed organising ringing walking outings.

Up until the decline in Don’s health, he regularly rang at Grundisburgh, St Mary le Tower, Aldeburgh and other towers. To our knowledge his last peal was at St Margaret’s, Reydon to celebrate Helen and his 65th wedding anniversary in 2017.
 
Richard Munning mentioned in his blog, that on the 14th May, the day Don died at Allonsfield House Nursing Home, the Campsea Ash Band was having their regular Saturday morning practice. A touching co-incidence that Helen and family were quick to appreciate.

Thank you Don for all that you did for ringing and our local community.
You will live on in the memories of all those who had the good fortune to know you.

There will be a memorial service for Don at St Margaret’s Church, Reydon on Friday 8th July at 11am.

Mike Sage
For St Edmund’s Guild of Change Ringers
Southwold.
1st June 2022
Edited 12th June 2022