Ringing endorsement of late councillor starts to take root

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Headington and Marston. Call me on (01865) 425411

A MEMORIAL tree could be planted to honour a dedicated parish councillor and long-serving bellringer.

Roy Jones, who died in May aged 78, served on Old Marston Parish Council in the 60’s and 70’s and again for several years until his death.

Now, Oxford city councillor for Marston, Mick Haines, wants to honour the former St Nicholas Church bellringer.

He has already drummed up support from Mr Jones’s sister, Sylvia Price, and proposed the idea to Old Marston Parish Council.

Mr Haines said: “I didn’t know Roy for long, but in the short time I knew him he was a really brilliant councillor for the village.

“He was a very nice person and was very dedicated to the area; he would always put the area before himself.”

The project would cost about £180, which would be met by Mr Haines’s annual community fund.

Proposed sites for the tree include Mortimer Hall Recreation Ground, in Oxford Road, and by St Nicholas Church, in Elsfield Road, where Mr Jones started ringing bells when he was eight.

Mr Haines said: “I would love for it to go in the churchyard because he was dedicated to the church.

“That would be my spot of choice.”

Mr Haines added that the memorial could be a willow tree, in tribute to a poem Mr Jones wrote while he was a student at Magdalen College School.

Mrs Price mentioned the poem to Mr Haines when he approached her about the idea.

The 68-year-old, of Ousley Close, Marston, said: “He asked what tree and I said it could be a willow tree.

“He wrote a poem about willow trees at Magdalen College years ago. He was very proud of it so I thought it would be a good idea.”

Mrs Price, a retired hairdresser, added: “I think it’s a lovely gesture and that Roy deserves it.

“He would be really pleased and honoured because he worked hard for the village and did a lot of things behind the scene.”

Marston Parish Council chairman Charlie Haynes said it would seek advice from Oxford City Council about the type and size of tree to plant.

He said: “I can’t see a problem planting a tree in memory of Roy Jones.

“I’m sure there won’t be any objection from the parish council, but we want to get the type of tree right.”

So dedicated was Mr Jones to bellringing that there were fewer than 20 towers of five or more bells across the country that he had not rung.

He worked as a pharmacist and teacher, and became bell tower captain at St Nicholas after he retired in 1990.

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