Bells sounded to mark the life of a Diss churchman

Geoffrey Tebble ANL-160718-132327001
Geoffrey Tebble ANL-160718-132327001

Geoffrey Tebble once startled his wife at midnight by jumping out of bed, pulling on clothes over his pyjamas and rushing out of the house, shouting out that he had forgotten to wind the church clock.

It was typical of his dedication to St Mary’s at Diss that he should take on from his father-in-law the responsibility of winding the clock every four days, even though it was yet another duty in a full and busy life.

To mark his many years of devotion to the church - he was a parochial church councillor for more than 50 years - the bells of St Mary’s were rung before and the funeral service for Mr Tebble. He died aged 83, five weeks before he and his wife Kathleen would have celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.

Mr Tebble was born on the Houghton Hall estate in North Norfolk where his father was a gamekeeper. The family moved to Gissing in 1945 and Burston a year later. Aged 14, he left school on a Friday and on the Monday began work at Brames radio and electrical shop on Market Hill. His only break was for National Service - by the time he returned from 21 months in Cyprus his family had moved to Diss and when he got off the train he had to ask direction to his new home - and he remained at Brames for 56 years.

When he began work radios still ran on accumulators and Mrs Tebble can remember his acid-spattered clothes. As televisions took over from radio he became known all around Diss as “the man in the van from Brames”, his daughter Susan said at his funeral service. He erected aerials and installed the sets at many homes enjoying television for the first time.

Outside work, he enjoyed many interests. His passion was cricket and he was the Diss club secretary for 20 years. Once asked if he was disappointed to have daughters rather than sons, he said: “Well, at least that’s the cricket teas sorted.”

Horse-racing was another interest, and bee-keeping. He was a member of the Diss Round Table, was involved for many years with the town carnival, and photographed and drew. He thought deeply about issues, and cared for poetry, writing and nature.

Mrs Tebble is the sixth generation of her family to serve St Mary’s “as vergers, ringers and singers” and Mr Tebble shared her devotion to the church, where he was sexton and took a leading role in a bells appeal which raised £30,000 in 18 months, Mr Tebble his survived by Kathleen, who said he husband was “simply, a thoughtful and good man”, two daughters and four grandchildren.