Herbert carries on ringing

HERBERT Jillings is the oldest ringer in town.And in fact, 89-years-young Herbert is also the most senior campanologist in the county.It is just over a week until Herbert, of Crabbe Street, celebrates his 90th birthday and he is still a regular at practice meetings in St Mary le Tower.

HERBERT Jillings is the oldest ringer in town.

And in fact, 89-years-young Herbert is also the most senior campanologist in the county.

It is just over a week until Herbert, of Crabbe Street, celebrates his 90th birthday and he is still a regular at practice meetings in St Mary le Tower.

He said: "It's a grand old hobby. Not too many people take it up these days because they've got so many other things to do.


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"But when I started in 1933 there wasn't any television to watch."

The years have finally started catching up with Herbert. A touch of rheumatism in his hands has left him unable to get involved as much as in yesteryear.

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But the retired wheelwright and carpenter believes his long-lasting hobby has helped him stay in shape.

He said: "The bell-ringing has helped keep me young and keep me active.

"I've got rheumatism now, so I just come along and watch the others most of the time, but I still have a good old pull now and again."

Herbert was also active in the community after his retirement. He was a special constable in the Foxhall branch for many years and helped escort the Queen on a royal visit to Suffolk.

But his high point in 70 years under the bells was pulling a rope at St Paul's Cathedral in 1986.

With him that day was George Pipe, ringing master at St Mary le Tower. He and Herbert joined the club at the same time in 1946.

He said: "Herbert's been a very strong stalwart ever since he joined. He's very reliable and very dependable and I've never heard him say a cross word."

Herbert is set to meet up with some of his peers at a veteran's meeting in Debenham. One of the guests was one of Herbert's original colleagues in the 1930s.

He is also set for a family get together organised by son Michael. He said: "We're all very proud of him, he still comes along to practice every week and still manages to pull bells now and again."

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