All Saints' Kempston Bell Ringers



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Anne Izzard    

25th May 1932  - 25th December 2013

Age 81



Anne was born in Chellington on 25th May 1932, the eldest daughter of Frank and Nancy Smith.   Her early playground was the fields around the village and the farm where her Father worked and it was here that Anne discovered her lasting love of nature.   The tom-boy spirit of her childhood always remained with her even when she had grown into an elegant young lady and later a loving Mother and Gran.

Anne received her more formal education at the village school in Carlton and later at the Dame Alice Harpur School in Bedford, where she developed her skills in music, art and sport that remained interests throughout her life.   In the early 1940s the family, now four following the arrival of a sister Elizabeth in 1935 moved to Wilstead where Anne helped at the Sunday School and towards the end of the decade, shortly after the birth of Janet they moved again, this time to West End, Kempston.

Anne involved herself with the church here too, first joining the choir and later becoming the assistant organist.   In those days the organ was played from the loft accessed through the ringing room, where the local band, largely male and including a group of young friends from the parish, assembled each Sunday.   You can imagine the effect that the appearance of an attractive young lady in their midst had upon the ringers and what pranks they may have used to catch her eye and to persuade her to linger a little longer in the ringing room.   It will never be known for certain whether it was a fascination with bell ringing or with a certain young ringer that led to Anne learning to ring but a romance between Anne and Cliff soon developed into an enduring love.

Ringing featured strongly in their courtship as they, with the Bedfordshire Young Ringers, covered many miles by bicycle visiting towers across the country from Gloucestershire to Essex, staying in Youth Hostels, which in those days were pretty basic.   Close friendships were formed on these trips and in more recent years Anne and the rest of the old ‘young ringers’ were reunited - only this time choosing a more sedate form of transport and much more comfortable accommodation as suited their advancing years.   Ringing was to remain an important part of Anne’s life.   A member of the band here for 63 years Anne was very proud to have rung her 100th peal at Kempston in 2000 to celebrate the Queen Mothers centenary.

Anne left school in 1950.   Janet and Elizabeth remember being taken to Bedford Railway Station to see Anne set off on the first stage of her journey to the police training college at Stafford, going by Steam Train!.   Anne, WPC8 was one of the first women police constables in Bedfordshire and the first policewoman in Kempston, and she walked the beat alone armed only with her whistle. Janet recalls the school bus stopping at the house in West End Road to pick her up for school, during the winter months the driver would kindly open the rear emergency door to load up Anne, wearing her uniform and cape to give her and her bicycle a lift to the Horseshoe garage at the corner of St. Johns street, from where she then cycled to Horne Lane Police Station.   The school bus was always very quiet with a police lady aboard!   Anne learnt to drive in the police force.   She was later to teach Cliff, a fact he was to be reminded of should he ever be critical of her driving!

Anne and Cliff were married here on 2nd June 1956 and moved into their brand new house, Green Acre, Box End.   Anne, never afraid of hard work set about turning the empty, dusty and echoing building into a warm and comfortable home, cleaning away the builders dust, sewing furnishings and filling the house with love.   In the next ten years three daughters arrived and with Cliff frequently away on business Anne focussed on looking after the house and raising the children.   Many here will know of Anne’s skill as a cook but one need only glance at her well-nourished children and husband for further evidence of this.   Anne was green-fingered too and turned part of the orchard which surrounded the house into a beautiful garden leaving an area of wilderness for the chickens to forage and the children to play -although neither group could be totally relied upon to observe the boundary – the plants suffering frequent damage from beaks, balls, go-carts and bicycles!

As has been mentioned Anne was brought up on or near farms and was therefore familiar and relaxed with animals.   Cliff remembers the time when he came home from work to find that some cattle had broken through the fence at the end of the garden and had come down to near the house. Anne and the policeman who lived next door were attempting to herd them back until she casually remarked "that one is a bull" at which the policeman rapidly retreated leaving Anne to deal with the situation, which she did, getting all the animals out including the big Hereford bull and then patched up the fence.

For many years Anne was a member of the Women’s Institute.   She also maintained her childhood love of horse riding and tennis, activities which she was able to share with her children. Throughout the late 1960s and 70s she was Secretary of the Bedfordshire District of the Bedfordshire Association of Church Bell Ringers, organising meetings and the all-important ringers’ teas.   She also played a key part in the rehanging and augmentation of the bells here at Kempston, fund-raising and keeping the volunteer labour well-fed and motivated.

As the children grew up Anne took a job at Biddenham Hospital and also found time to take-up new interests, learning and later teaching yoga and tune-ringing on hand bells.   For a number of years she taught the children here at Church End School to play Christmas carols on the bells, this she really enjoyed.   Anne was on the brass and flower rota here for many years - her most memorable arrangements were the colourful and imaginative floral carpets which filled the central aisle during the flower and arts and crafts festivals.   She also found more time for the garden at Box End, planting some of her favourite plants and recovering the vegetable patch –now vulnerable only to her grandchildren, the chickens being long gone.

It was her family which remained the most important thing for Anne, putting them before everything else she did.   Anne was particularly proud of her four grandchildren and their achievements in sport and music, skills which they had inherited directly from her.   She loved to bring all the family together throughout the year and Christmas was always a very special time for Anne.   She always worked so hard to prepare for these gatherings, decorating the house with greenery from the garden and preparing the most wonderful food.   It was a tradition on Christmas morning for Anne to wake the house with a carol on the harmonium – Christians Awake, Salute this Happy Morn!   This is how she would wish to be remembered, strong, capable, fun, forgiving but above all a loving wife, Mother and Gran.



Anne’s funeral was held at Kempston on 8th January 2014 and as she left the church and was laid to rest in the nearby cemetery, a well-struck touch of Grandsire Caters was rung by friends on the unmuffled bells.

 A shortened version of the above tribute was published in The Ringing World of

31st January 2014 (Page 124).


Kempston, Beds   Saturday, 10 May 2014 in 3hours 9minutes

A Peal of 5003 Grandsire Caters (Composed by John S Warboys)

1    Melvyn Potts

2    David A Potts

3    Anthony H Smith

4    Charlotte M Smith

5    David I Stanford

6    Timothy M D Stanford

7    Richard A Horne

8    Jonathan R Pawley

9    Andrew M Keech (C)

10  Stephen H Stanford

First on 10: 6

Dedicated to the memory of Anne Izzard and Robert Wood, ringers at this tower.

Also in memory of Canon Kenneth Habermehl, Vicar here 1965-1987.


Peals in memory of Anne Izzard were also rung at Southill, Beds on 30th December 2013 and at Clifton, Beds on 11th January 2014.

Quarter Peals in memory of Anne Izzard were rung at Stotfold, Beds on 27th December 2013 and at Perth, Western Australia on 2nd January 2014.