Ronald C (Ron) Noon

16/8/1925 - 3/8/2015

Ronald Cecil Noon

Ron was a pillar of our exercise and of his parish church of St. Mary and St. Nicholas, Spalding. Born in Earls Barton, Northamptonshire, Ron learned to ring, at the age of 13, with a group of lads of a similar vintage, at Brafield on the Green, near Northampton. By 1940 they had progressed to a quarter peal, to be followed up by a peal at Cogenhoe in April 1940. lt was a peal of mixed doubles and Ron and his fellow learners rang the front five bells, their mentor conducting from the tenor. The five were all ringing their first peal. At this time the war-time ban on the ringing of church bells was only a few months away, so their activities were seriously curtailed. Ron joined up at 18 years of age, just before the end of the war, when he enlisted in the Grenadier Guards. At the Guards depot at Caterham, Ron met the Cheshire ringer, happily still with us, Bernard Ongley and they formed a life long friendship, They first rang together on VE day 1945. When at the training battalion in Windsor, by the good offices of Norman Harding, they managed to avoid all church parades, being required for service ringing at Windsor Parish Church! Ron was extremely proud of his peal at The Curfew Tower, Windsor, when he rang the 5th to a peal of Grandsire Triples, conducted by Norman Harding. As recently recorded in the Ringing World, Ron took part in the Victory ringing at Croydon parish church.

Ron saw service in Germany after the war and on demobilisation, returned to Northamptonshire where he resumed active peal ringing. ln 1949, he was elected as secretary of the Peterborough Diocesan Guild, a post he held until he moved to Spalding in 1952. During this time, Ron occasionally returned to the place of his birth, to play the organ in the absence of the church's regular organist. His move to Spalding was occasioned by his marriage to Joy Rawding on 27th September 1952. He chose a bride with excellent ringing connections, Joy's father, Charlie Rawding was in charge at Surfleet, then the lightest peal of twelve in the world, and, what is more, his very first employment had been as a house boy to The Reverend Henry Law James. Joy, herself, had been baptised by that eminent cleric. Ron had met Joy at a Ladies Guild meeting in Northampton and the die was cast. Their homes in Spalding at the splendidly named 'Pennygate' and later 'Woolram Wygate' became welcome ports of call to many of us; their hospitality, aided by Ron's expertise in producing delicious home made wine from the produce of his excellent garden" was of a most generous order. Joy and Ron's daughter, Rosemary, completed a very happy family; of course, she learned to ring,

Both in Northampton and Spalding Ron worked for the gas board, but transferred his expertise to a company in Spalding that manufactured, among other things, aluminium window frames. When Ron and Joy moved to their bungalow in Woolram Wygate, which Ron had helped to design on the then avant guard 'open plan' system, he also designed all the window frames, which were produced at his place of employment.

Ron had e very beneficial effect on the ringing at Spalding. Soon after his arrival he set about organising ringing outings and social events, he was always aware of the advantage of mixing serious ringing with less taxing pleasure. Ron's first peal in the Spalding area was at the end of 1952, It was conducted by Stan Bennett, who was to become a regular member of Ron's Monday night peal band, which operated from the mid 50's well into the 60's. The band made excellent use of the many good eights in South Lincolnshire and had soon rung peals in the standard methods and spliced surprise. They went on to complete the alphabet in surprise major. A peal of Glasgow, albeit with 6th place bobs- was a highlight; very few peals in that method were rung at the time. The band provided an opportunity for a great many youngsters to take their first steps in surprise major, including; Roger Bailey, Keith Davey, Derek J. Jones and Alan Payne. Again, the social side was not neglected: Ron proved himself an expert in the strange Lincolnshire variation of Bar Billiards.

The 70's saw a number of excellent recruits to the Spalding Sunday Service band, Under Ron's careful but forceful tuition, Jim Benner, Ian Butters, Leslie Boyle and Susan Tyrell (later Agg) made splendid progress. The service ringing was of great variety and of a high order. Ron was an even tempered man and normally quietly spoken but he could ‘bark’ in the belfry and make his presence felt. This was illustrated when, in a Monday night peal of Grandsire Caters at Surfleet, schoolboy Roger Bailey began with an excessive length of tail-end. Well into the peal, this loop of rope managed to attach itself to a coat hook at Roger’s back. Sensing an imminent end to the attempt, Ron roared across the belfry “Get it off”. Roger immediately obeyed and the peal was saved. Sport featured prominently in Ron’s life. He was a keen cricketer before moving to the more sedate atmosphere of the bowling green. As a capable musician, Ron was an active member of the Spalding handbell ringing group, for whom he produced all the musical arrangements for four- in-hand ringing. He was a longstanding member of the Handbell Ringers of Great Britain. After his retirement, Ron, together with Canon Ernest Orland, established the South Lincs Wednesday Afternoon Ringing Group. It is still going and well supported by ringers from a wide area. Ron took on the job as verger at Spalding, ably assisted by Joy and together they delighted in keeping church matters running smoothly in a pristine church building. The church shop was their pride and joy, with its extended range of items for the discerning visitor. Sadly, Joy became ill some years ago. The decision was made to move to Fakenham to be nearer to Rosemary. In the event, it was Ron who became the more seriously ill. We extend our love and sympathy to Joy and Rosemary in their loss of a much loved husband and father.

Author: Rev Brian Harris