Memorial fund planned for stalwart Norfolk bellringer

Church bellringers across Norfolk and north Suffolk are planning a lasting reminder of the contribution of one of the most respected, inspirational and authoritative figures among their number of recent times.

Teacher, historian, writer and archivist Paul Cattermole lost his battle with recurring ill health two years ago. He was 68.

The former Norwich School maths master's death was mourned in ringing chambers across the Norwich diocese, where he was renowned for his endeavours to teach people of all ages to handle a bell, his research to preserve the region's ringing heritage for posterity and his own prolific change-ringing accomplishments.

The Paul Cattermole Fund will be launched officially by the Norwich Diocesan Association of Ringers at a weekend of celebratory ringing on October 29 and 30. A launch event will be held at Wymondham Abbey, where Dr Cattermole was archivist, on the Sunday at 4pm, to be followed by evensong.

The memorial fund will provide grants and will be overseen by trustees, who will seek to benefit interests close to Dr Cattermole's heart, such as bell improvement and renovation projects in country churches - including single bells hung for chiming only - and preserving historic books in the association library; he was their keeper for many years.


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A particular hope is that thousands of pounds will be raised to have a new bell cast in his memory. One idea being mooted is to install this in St Mary's Church, Tasburgh, to augment the present ring of five.

Maureen Gardiner, of Sheringham, who is closely involved with preparations for the launch, said: 'An important element of this is maintaining the sound of bells across the countryside.'

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She added: 'I think Paul was really special - somebody for whom knowledge mattered enormously. He loved bells, and he was a wonderful teacher.'

Ringers' association president Peter Adcock said the fund would mark Dr Cattermole's huge contribution to ringing in the diocese both as librarian and general adviser on bells. He added: 'We are also hoping to attract people outside the association who have benefited from Paul's knowledge and enthusiasm.'

Dr Cattermole, who lived at Tharston in south Norfolk, learned to ring at Beccles and in due course inspired countless others to master the 'exercise' with his patient tuition. He combined lifelong enthusiasms for history and Norfolk churches with meticulous research into the origins of bells, many of them founded locally in medieval times. For his books on Norfolk's and Norwich's bells, he climbed hundreds of towers, often clambering among dirty, long-forgotten frames and fittings to document their history.

For more fund and launch event information call Dr Gardiner on 01263 825779; email maureen.gardiner@fastmail.fm

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