ASHOVER: Bell-ringing chief Barry Watts back on duty

Ashover Tower Captain Barry Watts was back in action this week – ten months after temporarily abandoning the ringing chamber at All Saints for what he thought would be only a few weeks while he underwent a hip-replacement operation. But the procedure didn’t go quite as well as Barry and his wife, Marie, hoped. Complications meant that Barry had to undergo a further four operations before he was finally declared fit enough to return to ringing duties. Barry’s biggest challenge on Sunday was to climb the steep stone stairs to the ringing chamber.

He was welcomed back by the rector, the Rev Ralph Lawrence. Barry has paid tribute to Jim Heading, who took over the role of Tower Captain in his absence, secretary Brenda Johnson and all ringers for their support during his medical treatment.

“It’s great to be back ringing at Ashover,” he said.