Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.
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Message received from Paul Tritton, 9th Apr 2002:Hello Nick, Steve & Ian
You'll be sorry to hear that Rodney Meadows died on March 15. He was 77.
He died the day after he came to Canterbury to seen A Canterbury Tale and join my walk around the Cathedral. He was thrilled to have visited the organ loft and hear the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor played especially for our group's benefit.
Afterwards, he and I had tea at the Cathedral Tea Rooms and discussed the film, and he was moved to tears when we talked about the scenes in the Cathedral and Alison's "blessing" at the garage.
The sad news was given to me today by his niece Delia Panter, who found my name among his papers.
For various reasons his funeral has been delayed until today and will be at Westminster Abbey at 5.45 pm, when the bells will be rung in his honour.
[The State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother was held at the Abbey on the morning]
There will be another service for him at the Abbey at 8 am tomorrow, followed by tributes at St Mary's Harrow on the Hill at 2pm.
As you know, Rodney came to all our ACT events and passed on much of his musical knowledge to me, identifying the bells on the soundtrack, etc.
Obviously it is short notice but by all means pass this news on to any other Powell admirers who knew Rodney. If anyone attends the services, please say "hello" to Delia.
I am sending a copy of this e-mail to Delia, who in due course will tell me more about Rodney's interesting life, and his funeral, and I will write all this up and send on to you.
Rodney was the former secretary of the Westminster Abbey Bellringers and had been a great help to Paul on the churchbells and other music for Paul's book on ACT.
John Sweet (left) & Rodney Meadows
at Horton's Yard in Shottenden
Rodney had also been a keen supporter of our gatherings at Canterbury. Always keen and helpful, a lovely man.
On April 24th 2002 Paul got this message from Rodney's niece Delia Panter:Dear Paul,
Just a quick message to let you know that the services for Rodney went very well. The one at 6pm at Westminster Abbey was, of course, very special as we followed close on the heels of the Queen Mother. About 50 people were there, mostly bellringers. The family party included myself, 3 daughters and husband, two second cousins and close friends from the Hill and Delius Society. The Abbey looked lovely, Dominic Fenton presided (he assisted at the Queen Mother's service earlier) and the bells were rung for an hour afterwards by 10 ringers, 5 of whom had just spent 3 and a half hours ringing for the QM.
Rodney rested in St. Faith's Chapel overnight and then I and my daughters went there at 8am on Wednesday for a Holy Communion. We followed the hearse back to Harrow for the service at 2pm.
Tributes were heard from Jeremy Pratt, an old friend and fellow Oxford scholar and bellringer, who managed to piece together an amazing amount of information for us, and from Anthony Lindsey who talked mainly about his passion for music and The Delius Society. Rodney was a past master of the Ancient Society of College Youths, skilled horseman, devoted Arsenal supporter (and shareholder), low handicap golfer,past Chairman of The Delius Society, bridge player, collector of transport tickets, avid follower of the stock market, part owner of a record company (now defunct), and keen supporter of young musicians.
Tasmin Little played some unaccompanied Bach which was perhaps the most moving part of Wednesday's service. The funeral date had to be delayed because she was terribly keen to play for him and could not do the week before as she was playing in Paris.
After the service we gathered at the Masters' Dining Room at Harrow School for refreshments. It was an excellent opportunity to meet Rodney's close friends and associates, many of whom I had spoken to on the phone. My brother was not able to attend the services but was there afterwards. Although Rodney was incredibly passionate about his interests and was amazingly generous he lived a very simple life in a small rented flat on Harrow Hill. He was often out at dinners but did not invite anyone to the flat. No one, except plant waterers, had entered the flat in 20 years since his mother died. He kept everything, all in neat piles all over the flat and the Canterbury Tales material was kept in a large file. He kept all correspondence which is how I finally contacted you on the day of the funeral. There are several lovely photographs of your group at various sites, including the pub!
It must have been such a shock to get my phone call but I am certain that there was no better way for him to go than after a marvellous day at Canterbury followed by a celebratory dinner in London with his fellow ringers. Thank you for your help in letting his friends know.
I would love to hear from anyone who has any interesting stories or memories about Rodney.
With best wishes,
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