Judy Elizabeth Couperthwaite

26th October 1943 – 22nd June 2018

Judy was brought up in Leyland, Lancashire, which was where she learnt to ring. A family move took John to Preston in 1959 and they soon got to really know each other through local ringing activities. Judy always wanted to be a nurse and began training as a State Registered Nurse at Manchester Royal Infirmary in 1961. John had gone to Leeds University in 1960 and they became engaged in 1962. After John graduated in 1963 he moved south to work at the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) at Farnborough. Judy successfully completed her training in early 1965 and they married at Leyland in April 1965. Judy too obtained a job at the RAE and they lived in Farnborough for a while before moving to Fleet.

Judy’s first peal, conducted by John, was for the Lancashire Association in 1959, and she rang 6 peals for the LA before nursing training, marriage and family intervened. She returned to peal ringing in 1988 and rang a further 201 peals; 189 of them for the Guildford Diocesan Guild. Her peals include a wide variety of single surprise methods, and several of spliced surprise major in up to 23 methods. Her last peal was the traditional New Year’s Eve peal at Aldershot in 2003, also conducted by John.

When the children had left school Judy returned to nursing, initially on the wards at Farnham and later at the Outpatients Department of Fleet Hospital. She took a full part in hospital social events and even after she retired in 2011 it was Judy who kept the team together, organising lunches or coffee at least once a month.

Judy joined the Guildford Diocesan Guild as a member of Farnborough tower in 1968. In all she gave 50 years’ service to Farnborough church, often ringing three times on a Sunday. For about five years from 1989 Judy was tower captain, managing a group of talented, and somewhat independently minded, ringers with tact, understanding and good humour.

For 8 years between 2005 and 2013 she took on the onerous role of Guild Secretary, making a difficult and time-consuming activity look easy. When the Guildford Diocesan Guild hosted the Central Council meeting in 2013, it was only natural that the organisers should turn to Judy for the important role of providing refreshments and lunch for around 200 people, a feat she organised so efficiently that those present still remark on it 5 years later. Typically, she ensured that all helpers were identifiable by providing them with a Central Council apron – surely the one and only occasion when such a down to earth item has been produced for the Council! She often displayed her talent for organisation when the District or the Guild held meetings at Farnborough, always to be found in the kitchen helping to produce many splendid ringers’ teas.

In 2001 Judy instigated the Guild Number Club to raise funds for church bell restoration. She continued as organiser until earlier this year, when she made arrangements to hand it over in perfect order. Over the years some £8,000 has been raised for this cause.

Judy had very little time to come to terms with her final illness, but she approached it in the same way that she had approached the rest of her life, with thoughtfulness for others, pragmatism and a sense of humour. She was delighted to hear that she was on the prayer list at Westminster Abbey as well as the one at Farnborough. Farnborough church was packed for her funeral service on 12th July with ringers, nursing colleagues, and other friends coming from far and wide; a fitting testament to the love, respect and admiration in which she was held. As so many people have said: Judy was a lovely lady who will be sorely missed. She tried hard to get on with everyone, rarely had a bad word to say about anybody, and always put others before herself.