A BELLRINGER of more than seven decades and prominent Marston parish councillor has died, aged 78.

Roy Jones was a pharmacist and a member of many ringing societies and could often be seen conducting the activity at St Nicholas’ Church, in Church Lane, Marston.

So encompassing was his experience in the field that there were fewer then 20 towers of five or more bells that he had not rung in the country before his death.

His community work was also prolific and he was Old Marston parish councillor, teacher, chorister and scout leader.

Roy Jones was born in 1936, in North Oxford. He grew up in Marston with his two sisters, Sylvia and Mavis and brother, Jonathan and attended Magdalen College School for boys.

In 1954, aged 16, he took a job at the Morris plant in Cowley, which he held for two years before becoming a trainee pharmacist with Timothy Whites.

There he became fully qualified and worked in the retail chemist business.

In the early 1970s, Mr Jones left Oxford to take up a teaching post with the Stafford Education Authority in Cannock, but still made frequent visits to his home town, especially St Nicholas Church.

He had been going there since 1944 when he first started ringing bells aged eight. It was that which ignited a life-long passion.

The 1950s saw a particularly active time for bellringers at the church and in 1958 a record-breaking peal of 12,600 changes took place over six hours.

In 1972 he contributed to the funding and managed the engineering work required to augment the Marston bells to become a ring of six.

He retired from full-time work in 1990, but moved to Buckingham and worked part-time in a pharmacy.

In his spare time he begun to visit Oxford more often again, becoming bell tower captain at St Nicholas’ and later moved back to Marston.

He also travelled around the country to many other churches and in his bell ringing career made over six thousand quarter peals and hundreds of full peals.

He was still a member of Old Marston Parish Council until his death.

Mr Jones – who was married and had no children – died at home on May 5 from bronchial pneumonia. He is survived by his widow.

A funeral was due to take place yesterday at Headington Crematorium.

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