1913 - 2009

Jack Bagnall was born on Christmas Day 1913, the youngest of eight children, in Barrow-in-Furness and lived all his life in or near the Parish Church of St James, the only one of several churches in Barrow with bells. He started ringing there in 1931 and continued until he, with reluctance, retired from ringing in 1997 because of problems with his balance. He also rang at nearby Dalton-in-Furness from 1933, attending their practices as regularly as possible. Wherever he rang he was always consistently good and ever willing to help others improve their ringing.

In December 1997 about 35 ringers and friends gave him a surprise lunch at the Brown Cow Inn, Dalton, where he liked to visit regularly, to celebrate his retirment from 66 years as a bellringer. He was thanked for his enduring and dedicated service to ringing throughout the branch, for all the friendship he has made and for giving everyone hope that we might be as sprightly in both mind and body if we reach his age. He was presented with a carriage clock and a glass bell, made and engraved at the local Cumbria Crystall factory.

He joined the Lancashire Association of Change Ringers in 1934 and was for about 30 years the Ringing Master of the Furness and South Lakeland Branch. He rang 182 peals and countless quarter peals. For much of his time at St James he was Tower Captain.

Throughout his life he attended that church and joined the Youth Club where he met and started courting Nellie. They were married at St. James on 6th June 1940. When he first left school he worked for a time as a railway clerk before joining the army during WWII. He was stationed mainly in Greece and Scotland. When he returned from the War he started working at Vickers’ shipyard, Barrow as a timekeeper; a job he continued until he retired in 1978.

He was always a dedicated man and he gave much of his time to the church, where he was a Warden and PCC member for several years, always helping out at any function that was organised there.

Jack was a true gentleman, consistent, kind and dedicated to his family, church and bells. He was saddened over the last years of his life that St James’ bells could not be rung because of an unsafe frame and have been silent for most of the past decade. There is a possibility that some work may be done on the frame soon to enable the bells to be rung again.

Jack had been a little unwell in the last few years and moved into a nursing home, but his mind was always very clear and active. Sadly his wife has been ill with dementia for several years. He also leaves two children, Alan and Lynn, three grand-children and four great-grandchildren.




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Central Council of Church Bell Ringers