Margaret Lewis

Margaret Lewis was born on 23/8/32 (a palindrome, she boasted) and learnt to ring at Shirley (Birmingham) in the late 1940’s. She attended grammar school in Solihull where her headmaster (and maths teacher) was the late Edgar C Shepherd, a well-known ringer and author of bellringing books.

Margaret started work in central Birmingham in the same office as Joan Beresford (Summerhayes) and they became lifelong friends. The two young ladies would travel by train after work to practices all over the Midlands often returning home on their respective last trains and buses. She later began working for the Civil Service in central London, ringing regularly at Kingston (on the old anti-clockwise 10) and at Isleworth.

In the mid-60’s she moved into a flat in Farnborough and began regular ringing there and at Aldershot, though she would never officially join either band, preferring to remain an “unattached” Guild member. Later, for a short while, she rang at Farnham.

Margaret rang all the standard methods on 8 bells and enjoyed the occasional bit of 10 bell ringing. She rang numerous quarter peals and a total of 19 peals (6 for the Guildford DG), having decided after her last at Farnborough in 1968 that they were a “waste of time”. She rang one handbell peal – of Plain Bob Minor, sitting in a car whilst on holiday in Ireland!

Ringing holidays were frequently enjoyed by Margaret. She became friends with Florrie Wyman (Sussex) who organised some of the first-ever week-long ringing holidays and whilst on those trips she made friends with more ringers from Sussex and especially West Somerset, where she often spent other holidays. She was a (secret) tower-grabber and if a new tower became available, Margaret would be there! She arranged day outings herself, always in Greater London on August Bank Holiday Monday, and elsewhere, always on the first Saturday in December – ending with a party and sing-along back in her Farnborough flat, to which friends came from far and wide. Additionally, Margaret was a strong supporter of Wilson’s Wanderers – she approved of a “good tea”, always a feature of these days out.

Margaret took great delight in not having a television. After retirement she was a group leader in the U3A, running discussion groups and the like. Always fiercely independent, doing everything “her way”, in later life she became more of a recluse, giving up regular ringing around 2005. When she moved into her final care home, she kept its location a guarded secret.

She died on 7th July 2020, aged 87.

Martin Turner