Douglas Rooke - A Personal Tribute (1935-2010)
By John R. Ketteringham
Soon after Herbert Rooke returned from war service he taught his eldest son Douglas to ring at Warsop, Notts on the six bells in that tower. He made rapid progress and rang the treble to seven minor methods for his first peal at North Muskham on 16 October 1948 aged 13. During the following year he rang his first peal Ďinsideí to seven methods at Warsop. His first as conductor was in 1950 - Oxford Treble Bob Minor at Warsop.
Douglas joined the Rambling Ringers in 1954 and in 1955 he completed 100 peals. In 1958 he became the first Secretary of the newly formed Mansfield District of the Southwell Diocesan Guild. In 1959 he became Acting Peal Secretary for the Southwell Guild remaining in that office for four years. Douglas was elected a member of the Ancient Society of College Youths on 18 October 1958 having been proposed by J Frank Smallwood and seconded by Ron Bullen. His father was elected to the Society at the same meeting.
Each summer the Rooke family spent a week at Mablethorpe and Douglas with his father Herbert came to practices at Alford where I learned to ring. I rang my first peal whilst working in Leicester in 1951 and later that year moved to work near Mansfield so was able to cycle to Warsop for Sunday ringing and practices. The standard of striking was very high indeed and the Warsop band was famous for winning all the Cup Contests in North Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire. Needless to say my own ringing improved by leaps and bounds. It is Douglas and Herbert who are responsible for my own appreciation of good striking.
In July 1951 during the Rookes holiday I rang three peals with Herbert calling the first peal on the bells at Candlesby (my second peal), Douglas calling a peal of Minor at Alford which was Terence Asquithís, and Geoff Paulís first peal and another of Minor conducted by Bert at Mablethorpe. After I moved to work in Lincoln I spent many weekends and Bank Holidays at Warsop and eventually moved to work at Creswell.
Douglas and Marjorie were married in 1958 and they have three sons and a daughter. They also have a number of grandchildren and a great grandchild was born just a few weeks before Douglasís death.
After I moved to London I kept in touch with Douglas and by the time I moved back to Lincolnshire Douglas and his family were living in Grantham so we renewed our friendship. Douglas and his eldest son, Alan, rang regularly at St Wulfram's but in 1976 he opened his own shop and he eventually had to stop ringing because of the pressures of his business and family.
At the service on Wednesday 17 February at St Sebastianís Church Great Gonerby celebrating Douglasís life his brother in law, Canon Adrian Rhodes, said that beneath the sometimes gruff exterior Douglas was intensely thoughtful, kind and always willing to go well out of his way to help others. His eldest son Alan said that his father was a character who had strong views on most things.
I believe much of Douglasís personality was inherited from his father and I will always remember my last encounter with him. This was in Lincoln County Hospital and we had a really good and lively discussion! It was a shock to learn that he had died so soon after this.
Left to right back row : Herbert Rooke, Robert Lucas, Fred Flint, Douglas Rooke
Front row : James Rooke, Revd Habgood (Vicar), George Challans.
John R. Ketteringham (March 2010)