Taken with permission from Bellringing in Cornwall Facebook page:
I regret to have to share the news that my uncle, former Captain of St Columb tower Alan Rodliffe, passed away yesterday morning aged 84.
A farmer and lifelong resident of St Columb Major parish, he learnt to ring in 1954, having been fascinated by the bells as a youngster. As Captain of the Tower from 1967 to 1999 he led a revival of ringing at St Columb, teaching many people and building what became probably one of the strongest and most active local tower bands in Cornwall.
Coming from the Cornish call-change tradition, Alan delighted in good rising and falling and well-struck ringing in general. From the 1970s onwards he led the St Columb team to several victories in the traditional round-ringing contests of mid and east Cornwall. Outings were also an important part of the tower’s activities, and, beginning in 1992, ringing holidays took the team further afield: to Wales, the Isle of Wight and Essex amongst other destinations. Although never a tower-grabber, he was proud of the fact that, in his words, he had rung at so many towers “with me own gang!”
St Columb remained rooted in the call-change tradition, but in the early 1980s a few of the band, including Alan, began learning method ringing. He never aspired to the heights of complex surprise ringing, but became proficient in some of the standard methods, and found it and interesting and enjoyable addition to his hobby. He clocked up several quarters and even 13 peals, including circling St Columb tower (to peals), in order from treble to tenor.
Nevertheless, Alan’s main source of pride and enjoyment, ringing-wise, was in nurturing and maintaining a dedicated local band and producing well-struck eight-bell call-change ringing on Sundays and special occasions. The team was (and is) a close-knit one, and among its number Alan counted many of his closest friends. He also greatly valued the friendships he made with ringers from all over Cornwall and further afield.
Besides such friendships Alan could also boast of a family of ringers, which included his late brother Michael, wife Kathleen, son Andrew, grandchildren William and Tamsyn, niece Helen and nephews Jeremy and Matthew.
Alan was still ringing regularly until illness prevented him in July of this year. Over the last few weeks, although not well enough to climb the tower steps, he asked on several occasions to be driven into town to hear the bells on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings, on one or two occasions delivering a fairly robust critique of the performance to those that saw him in the car park afterwards!
Outside of ringing, Alan was involved over the years in several other organisations and goings-on in the St Columb community, in which he was well-known and liked. His family are grateful for all the messages of sympathy and support they have received since his passing.
Matthew Rodliffe – St Columb Major