Norman, mainstay of bellringers for nearly 60 years
With the death of Norman Bramall on 8th December 2021 the Pattingham bellringers have lost their longest serving ringer. Norman was a main stay of the band for almost 60 years. He and Janet, who had recently married, both learnt to ring in 1962 when there was a shortage of ringers and they answered the appeal for recruits to learn to ring. Since then Norman continued as a loyal and faithful member of the band. He was still ringing regularly in March 2020 at the age of 87 when ringing was suspended. Unfortunately he was not able to resume ringing after lockdown due to problems with his hip.
For many years as steeple keeper he looked after the bells – changing ropes, replacing stays, checking bolts and generally keeping an eye on the fittings. After the bells were rehung in 1992 he, with Tony Wilcox, erected wooden panelling in the ringing room and also built an enclosure for the clock mechanism. From 1970 until this year he was treasurer of the ringers’ fund.
Between 1971 and 1995 he rang a total of 16 peals (continuous ringing for about 3 hours – the ringers’ equivalent of a marathon), 9 of which were at Pattingham. He rang in the first peal by an all Pattingham band (in 1974) as well as the last peal with the bells in the old oak frame (in 1991) and the first peal after they were rehung in 1992.
He was a friend to everyone and his cheerful smile was always a welcome sight. He often visited other towers to support them and would often be asked to ring for weddings and other occasions at various nearby (and not so near) towers.
Norman was born in Pattingham and lived here all of his life. He joined the church choir at the age of 8 and left when his voice broke. For many years he was the church clock winder. He had interests outside ringing – dancing, both ballroom and American square dancing, with Janet, bowls and, of course, growing vegetables in his garden.
Norman will be missed by all who knew him. His good humour endeared him to many people.
(This article appeared in the January 2021 issue of the Pattingham and Patsull Parish News.)