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Mary Cole

Mary died on 5th October after a long illness. Many who knew her may not be aware of the role she played in the post war revival of ringing at All Saints. She was one of a wave of ringers who learnt in 1943, after the wartime ban on ringing had been lifted.

Mary was a second generation ringer. Her father George joined the band in 1901 and appears in the earliest surviving picture of Wokingham ringers. It still hangs in the tower and was taken at the time of Edward VII’s corronation in 1902. Her brother Henry rang in the mid 1930s and was killed in 1944, aged 23, while serving with 6th Battallion Grenedier Guards in Italy.

Mary became an active member of the growing post-war band at All Saints, and played an active part in tower life, including organising ringing outings. She served as Tower Secretary for twenty years, from 1954 to 1973.

Mary gave rang for over 30 years and even after she gave up ringing in the late 1970s she continued to audit the accounts of the Sonning Deanery Bellringers for many years.

When I was doing the research for the book on the history of ringing in Wokingham, Mary was extremely helpful. Her personal memories of former ringers, and the photographs that she gave me, helped me to paint a richer picture of ringing here during the mid twentieth century.

We rang a quarter peal of Grandsire Triples  in Mary’s memory before evening service on Sunday 12th October.

John Harrison (October 2014) 

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