Farewell to a true original

Peter Simpson: another of his musical skills

We took part in the celebration service for the life of one of our band, Peter Simpson by ringing a touch of Grandsire triples and a sequence of call changes. Although ill health had prevented Peter from ringing with us recently, he remained a loyal member of our team and a friend to us all. We remember his determination to rediscover his ringing skills that he first developed at Cambridge university and his subsequent presence at the 9.30am morning service when he would give us a cheery wave before taking his place in church.

Widely travelled, Peter was a brilliant academic and polymath. His son Tom, speaking at the celebration, said his father was ‘a one-off’ with ‘an extraordinary range of skills’. Neil Summers, vicar of St John’s who took the service, said Peter was ‘a Richmond character’ whose trademark choice of sturdy shorts and long while woollen socks marked him out as someone distinct in the town.

A professor at Imperial College, Peter was a leading scientist in fields, among others, of geology, mineral exploration and sustainable development. His late wife Jane Plant was also a professor at Imperial. Peter was well known in parliamentary circles as the organiser of scientific meetings, selecting speakers and helping to run the publication Science in Parliament.

We were reminded at the celebration service of Peter’s memorable smile and sparkling eyes, his generosity and warmth and his respect for tradition that combined with an inquiring mind and an insatiable search for knowledge.

The ringers were Sarah Percival, Jackie Harrison, Malcolm McAlister, Mary Gow, Stephen Mitchell, Andrew Harvey, Martin Crick, Theo Adams. We are grateful to Mary and Stephen from All Hallows, Twickenham for their support.

About Andrew Harvey

A regular member of the 8am Sunday congregation at St Mary's and a bell ringer
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