It is with sadness that we have to report that Brian Lawrence, Tower Captain at Ash-next-Sandwich, died recently after battling cancer for the past 15 months.
Brian was born in 1941, in Sutton, near Deal. The family home was in Great Mongeham, where Brian developed a love of the countryside and a passion for gardening. He had a number of varied and interesting hobbies, to which bellringing was added in 1978 when he responded to an article by Dr. David Cave in the East Kent Mercury, following the augmentation of Ash bells from eight to ten. Thus began a long association with the tower, with Brian eventually taking over as Captain when Derek Chatfield left the area. Ringing was to provide him with a great deal of enjoyment over the years, with outings and weekends away being a particular pleasure – it was during a Dover tower outing that Brian met his future wife, Jane, whom he married in 1994.
A true gentleman, Brian led the tower with loyalty and dedication over many years, making the journey from Lower Hardres every Friday and Sunday to preside over our practice and service ringing. He also found time to support other towers (notably St Mary’s, Ashford), and to teach bell handling to a number of learners – in this capacity, his kind and patient manner made him an ideal teacher and mentor.
In accordance with his wishes Brian will be laid to rest simply, with only his immediate family involved. With Covid restrictions in place, opportunities to mark Brian’s passing in our usual way are limited, but the Nine Tailors will ring out over Ash on the day of his cremation as a tribute from the local band.
With his blessing, a Memorial Service for Brian will be held at Ash once the current social restrictions are lifted, followed by a traditional Ringers’ Tea – details will be published in due course. This will give his many friends the opportunity to pay their respects, and our thoughts are very much with Jane, Tom and Beth at present, as we all come to terms with the loss of someone who has contributed so much to ringing in our area.