Revd Tracey Jones

As a proud Bronze, Silver and Gold Award Holder, my whole teenage years were framed by the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and so it was a huge privilege to be able to toll the old 12¼ CWT bell each day at noon, during the national period of mourning for HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Soon after the announcement from Buckingham Palace at 12:00 on Friday 9th April 2021, David Cornwall, Tower Captain of St Michael & All Angels, Hughenden, and I, went down to chime the bell 99 times …
Once for each year of his life.
During the hour before the funeral at 3pm on Saturday 17th April a single bell was tolled (half muffled). There’s something very moving about hearing a bell sounding over the valley with its sombre echo on the next stroke.
On a lighter note, I thought you may be amused to hear about my early days as a ringer. I started the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award when I was 14 but none of my friends were interested so I had to go-it-alone.
I was part of the local Church Youth Club and one of the leaders managed to find me a copy of the handbook.
On the page marked, “Campanology” there was just one sentence, “Send off for the syllabus” and an address. I LOVED anything outdoors and fancied the idea of “Camping – ology” (The study of camping … Yeah!) so sent off my request. Imagine my surprise when I discovered it was actually Bellringing!! My Mum suggested I go down and find out more … I loved it !!
Many adventures later, I finally met the Duke of Edinburgh at the Gold Award presentations at St James’ Palace. He was sooo funny! The Group Captain next to him didn’t know what “Er, Um … Organisation … I was part of?” (I was in uniform).
Prince Philip, cool as a cucumber, sidled up and said, “Oh! How lovely to see a Naval Nurse!” (with a sideways glance!) … “Are you past the ‘sluice technician’ stage yet??” he said. “Oh, Yes, sir” I quipped back “I’m working from the ‘bottom up’ !!”