Ken Parkinson and his wife June were a lovely couple who were very much part of the church of St James in Barrow. June was in the choir and Ken would help out with the church where he could – one of his favourites being Father Christmas at the Church Christmas Fair.
When the bells were restored in 2014, June encouraged Ken to give bellringing a go and he came along to learn in July 2014 when he was about 73 years young!
He made progress and became a regular ringer at Barrow, and also went to Dalton and Ulverston. He was tall and often needed a figure of eight knot in his rope due to his reach. He was mild mannered and softly spoken but often had a boyish twinkle in his eye and a good sense of humour. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word, and his cheerful company was enjoyed by everyone.
Ken embraced the whole bellringing social scene with ringing trips, branch meetings, tower/branch meals, and meandyring rambles through Lakeland scenery between towers and café/pubs (see picture at Holy Trinity Brathay and The Outgate Inn as an example). Just thinking back to the times we enjoyed together brings a smile and fond memories.
Sadly in 2017, his wife and soulmate June passed away and this was especially hard on him although he continued stoically and tried not to show it. A couple of years later Ken’s health gradually made it difficult to come to practices, so his daughter Julie helped drive him to enjoy his bellringing while he could.
We have missed Ken since he stopped ringing in 2019 but have frequently been reminded of him and his sunny disposition… triggered by a small solar driven animated flower ornament that he won as a prize at a church fair but left in the tower where it used to wave at us merrily from the windowsill when the sun shone.
He is now reunited with June, and we hope they can hear the bells they both so enjoyed in life.
Ken Parkinson sadly passed away on Monday 18th September aged 82
His Funeral takes place at 11:30 on Wednesday 4th October 2023 at St James.
We will ring half muffled for half an hour before the funeral – everyone welcome, and hope to be able to ring an extended touch (e.g. 720) or quarter peal on open bells after the service.