George S Valentine
20/1/1893 - 17/03/1973George Sydney Valentine was born in Blakesley. He began ringing in 1912 at Isham, a very active tower. He rang his first peal on July 11, 1914 at Mears Ashby, ringing the second to 7 minor methods with the Isham Society, conducted by E Maurice Atkins. In 1914-15 George worked on the Midland Railway at Ilkeston. He rang at the local tower and kept in touch with the band after the war. After demobilisation from the army, he returned until 1923 to Isham where he rang a peal of seven minor methods with the society in 1919, conducted by E Maurice Atkins who had kept the ringing going during the war by training four keen young ladies. George returned to Isham on October 20, 1964 to ring in a half-muffled quarter peal following the memorial service to Maurice Atkins, whose ashes were interred in the village cemetery that afternoon.
On Easter Tuesday, April 3, 1923 George married Beatrice Everest, one of Isham’s wartime lady ringing recruits. It was a great ringing occasion with the bridesmaid, bestman, bride’s father and brother all being Isham ringers. A celebratory peal was rung afterwards.
George and Beatrice went to live at a rather lonely lodge in the parish of Old. George recalled, at the time of ringing cleric Gilbert Thurlow’s appointment as Dean of Gloucester, that the rector of Old, the Revd J Goddard, Gilbert’s uncle, often came up to the lodge to visit. Walking to the deserted village of Faxton with a small church, where in the winter months the rector took the monthly service, they walked across the fields in Wellingtons or high leg boots. To get there, the rector would take his shoes and socks off, wade through the water, then put them on again, walk across a very large field and take the service.
On January 24, 1925 a peal of seven minor methods at Isham marked the birth of daughter Molly to George and Beatrice.
George rang at Naseby & Hazelbech during 1933-4, then from 1934 they lived in Duston and rang around the town towers. George looked after St Peter’s and was in the choir until he died. In 1937 he was in the opening band after Walgrave bells were restored and the first time they had rung out since the relief of Mafeking in 1900. He rang much Stedman Triples, including two peals and several quarter peals. He rang in a peal of Plain Bob Major at St Peters on July 22, 1939 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of a similar peal conducted by Benjamin Annable on June 15, 1739. A beautifully executed record of the two peals in coloured Old English writing and framed in medium oak was placed in the belfry in 1950.
George was the Northampton Branch Treasurer for 1939 to 1946 and Branch President in 1947 to 1950. He was a Guild representative to the Central Council from 1945 to 1950 and later looked back to the happy times spent at the meetings and the good friends made there.
In 1948, his daughter Molly was ringing quarter peals and he rang in her first of minor at Dallington. George rang his first peal since 1939 on September 25, 1948 with Molly, at Maidwell conducted by Eric Nobles.
In November, Beatrice, Molly and George rang a quarter peal of Grandsire Triples together at St Peters for the enthronement of Rt Revd Spencer Leeson as Bishop of Peterborough, conducted by Tom Tebbutt. In 1949 Beatrice and George hosted a Ladies Guild meeting in the town. It was on April 8, 1951 that the first record of George conducting a quarter peal has been found – Plain Bob Minor plus cover bell at St Peter’s.
Beatrice died on January 9, 1971 after a period of failing health. George wrote several items to the Ringing World in his later years which have helped with this biography, including an item a week before the notice of his sudden death appeared in 1973. St Peter's bells, which he loved so much, were rung half-muffled by some of his friends before and after the funeral service. He was cremated at Milton Malsor.