Mr. James Bennett, formerly captain of the ringers at St. Peter's Church, Bournemouth, passed to his rest quite suddenly on May 26th at the age of 77 years. He began his connection with the mother church of Bournemouth at the age of ten as a choirboy and subsequently was a bellringer as well as a chorister. For many recent years, however, he had not taken an active part in either capacity, for whilst the doctor forbade the long clime up to St. Peter's belfry, his wife's ill-health prevented his regular attendance in the choir.
Mr. Bennett sang bass and few choristers could sound such a resonant bottom C, and his "weight" in the lower clef was greatly missed when he retired. As a ringer Mr. Bennett did not aspire to becoming a "star" performer, but he had few superiors on the back end in Stedman or Grandsire Triples, and with Mr. George Preston must he counted among the pioneers of change ringing in the Bournemouth district.
He had the satisfaction of standing in the first peal ever rung in St. Peter's tower, as also did Mr. Preston.
The funeral service took place in St. Peter's on Friday, May 30th, the singing of the hymns, "Jesu, lover of my soul" and "Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven," being led by many of his former colleagues in the choir.
A course of Grandsire Triples, struck in slow time on handbells by Mr. Frederick Townsend 1-2, Mrs. F. J. Marshallsay 3-4, Mr. Arthur V. Davis 5-6 and Miss F. Childs 7-8, was rung in the church, and the cortege left to the singing of the Nunc Dimittis.
Many ringers from the district were present in the congregation, including the Rev. C. A. Phillips (Salisbury Diocesan Guild), Mr. G. Preston (Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild, Christchurch Priory), Messrs. C. H. Forfitt, E. Waters, C. Chandler and H. Osborne (St. Peter's), and Mr. H. H. Bennett (St. John's, Surrey Road).
The Ringing World No. 1577, June 13th, 1941, page 279