The veteran Isle of Wight ringer and ‘father’ of the Ryde band (Mr. George Henry Coombes) will celebrate the eighty-eighth year of his birth to-morrow.

For 45 years he has been a member of Ryde All Saints’ Parish Church bellringers, having joined the band in 1886, soon after the bells were installed there by Taylor and Co. He was then 43 years old (no ‘chick’ to commence change ringing), but he soon mastered his bell and method ringing, and has since been a most regular service ringer. He has rung several peals of Grandsire Triples, his last peal being in honour of his seventieth birthday in 1913. In addition to ringing regularly for Sunday service, he still attends and takes an active part in the weekly practices, and is, we believe, the oldest active ringer in the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild.

A horticulturist by profession, Mr. Coombes is still as keen as ever, and his flower beds at his residence, 25, Swanmore Road, Ryde, are greatly admired by both residents and visitors during the summer months, and are worthy of inspection. A lover of football, he is also a keen follower and supporter of the local team, and only very severe weather prevents his attendance at every match.

In the name of the Exercise we extend to Mr. Coombes hearty greetings and congratulations upon his birthday.

The Ringing World No. 1044, March 27th, 1931, page 199


Mr. G. H. (Henry) Coombes, of 25, Swanmore Road, Ryde, Isle of Wight, celebrated his 89th birthday on Easter Monday, This grand old veteran is still an ‘active service’ ringer at Ryde All Saints’, where he has been a regular ringer since 1886 (when the bells were dedicated). He is the oldest active member of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild.

The Ringing World No. 1097, April 1st, 1932, page 216


Still hale and hearty, Mr. George Henry Coombes, who lives at 25, Swanmore Road, Ryde, Isle of Wight, celebrated his 97th birthday yesterday. Although he cannot now take part in the ringing, he is still one of the ringers at Ryde and a member of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild. He attended the annual meeting when it was held at Ryde last July. Ringers everywhere will extend to him their heartiest greetings and good wishes.

The Ringing World No. 1514, March 29th, 1940, page 150