St Andrews

1942 – 21 Feb 2024


Duncan was born in Greater Manchester in 1942, the second of five siblings. In the late 1950s, ringing at Ashton-under-Lyne was at a low ebb. Several youngsters were recruited from the congregation including Duncan and his older brother. They were all taught by Joan Carter, herself not much older than the recruits. They made steady progress such that they formed the basis of a new band ringing regularly for service and practice. Duncan’s first peal was in May 1958 with it being a first peal for five of the recent recruits and first as conductor for Joan: A great achievement for the band.



After leaving school, Duncan studied medicine in Edinburgh but did not ring there. He worked as a GP in Exeter and, while waiting to collect his son from a bagpipe lesson, he heard bells being rung at a practice. He returned to ringing including at Heavitree and Exeter Cathedral. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1988 which then led to his retirement from medicine in 1990. He moved to Scotland and for many years was involved with ringing at the two towers in Dundee including many quarters and one peal: Plain Bob Triples for the SACR 75th anniversary celebrations. He hosted one memorable pizza party and enlisted neighbour’s ovens to ensure that all the offerings were ready at the same time!


With the installation of a ring of six at St Andrews in 2011, Duncan became involved in ringing there for service, practice, weddings and graduations. Health issues occurred frequently but each time he was determined to return to ringing – as well as return to other interests including dance and art – as soon as possible. One of the last times that he rang was at St Andrews following the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II. His health deteriorated further and he was well cared for by his wife at their home where he died on 21 February 2024.


We will remember his determination to not let serious health issues interfere with the rest of life and his encouragement of others as they made progress with ringing.


A quarter peal was rung on 13 March at St Andrews following the funeral of Duncan earlier that day. The band was made up of ringers from St Andrews and Dundee where Duncan rang.


Peter Williamson