Bells ring out in Bradford on Avon to herald the start of Phil’s ‘retirement’

This Is Wiltshire: Tower captain Phil Gaisford is handing over the ropes after 50 years Tower captain Phil Gaisford is handing over the ropes after 50 years

The bells of Holy Trinity and Christ Church, Bradford on Avon, rang out across the town to mark a very special celebration – the retirement of Philip Gaisford as tower captain of the two towers.

Phil took over duties at Christ Church over 50 years ago and 28 years later took on the role of tower captain of Holy Trinity.

During this time he taught many people to ring and helped countless others develop their ringing at practice nights. He organised ringing for weddings, church services and other special occasions and was the point of contact for visiting bands which came to ring Bradford on Avon’s two fine peals of bells.

Phil successfully united the bands of both towers in the town and played a major part in the restoration of the bells at Holy Trinity for the Millenium. He also served on the PCC of Christ Church and has been an active committee member of the Devizes branch of the Salisbury Diocesan Guild of Ringers.

An evening of celebration was arranged which began with quarter peals being rung simultaneously at Holy Trinity and Christ Church by members of the local band and friends from around the guild. Ringers, friends and family then attended evensong at Christ Church, taken by Bradford on Avon Rectors Ann Keating and Joanna Abecassis.

The service included ringing-related hymns and the presentation to Phil of a bell mounted on a plinth, made by local ringer David Godwin. After the service, the ringers invited everyone to a surprise party at the Mount Pleasant Social Club where, Phil was presented with a rose and gardening vouchers (his other hobby). A splendid buffet was served and a celebratory cake with a gold leaf bell, made by Janet Barnes, was cut by Phil and his wife Mary.

Phil has not retired from ringing altogether and continues to be a valued member of Bradford’s band.

The role of tower captain has been filled by two of Bradford’s ringers, David Godwin and Sarah Quintin, who will split the responsibility between them. David will be in charge at Christ Church and Sarah at Holy Trinity, but the band will continue to ring as one between the two towers.

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