Phil Gay

Phil Gay

Tower captain - Keele

Phil Gay learned to ring in 1956 in Somerset and has been a ringer at Keele in Staffordshire, where he is currently tower captain, since 1963. Teaching is one of his main interests. He has taught many learners and for twenty years ran the Keele Summer School. He has held many offices in the North Staffordshire Association including twenty-one years as a Central Council representative.  Another interest is bell hanging, particularly light bells (Keele (Woodlands) and the Lichfield Diocesan Mobile Belfry) and wheel making for three local projects. Phil rang his first peal in 1960 and has now rung 1160, including the first peals of 78 ringers. His wife Rowena is also a ringer and his son Simon rings at Glasgow Cathedral.

Phil Gay
– Learned to ring 1956 at Hinton Blewett, Somerset
– Member of band at Keele since 1963

– Joined North Staffs Association in 1962
– Elected to committee in 1976
– Currently Peal Secretary
– Has held every office (some more than once) except Bell Advisor, which he has done for the Lichfield and Walsall Archdeaconries Society
– Elected to Central Council in 1986, served for 21 years
– Member of Education Committee and Ringing Centres Committee
– Trustee of Lichfield Diocesan Mobile Belfry since 1999

– Taught first learner (Phil’s sister) in 1961, many more since including his wife, son and daughter
– Started the innovative Keele Summer School in 1987 – it ran for over twenty years
– Early user of simulators, beginning 1984

Peals (mostly on six and eight)
– First peal 1960 at Drayton, Somerset – Treble to Plain Bob Major
– 50th peal 1984, 1000th peal 2014, current total 1160, conducted 206
– 415 peals with Michael Wilshaw, who conducted 255 of them
– 151 peals with Rowena Gay
– 64 peals with Simon Gay
– Peals rung with 78 first pealers, including Rowena and Simon
– Peals rung at 320 towers,  including 443 at Keele (Woodlands), 88 at Broughton and 30 at Keele St John
– Phil enjoys ringing spliced, around 100 peals of each spliced surprise major (including 23-spliced) and minor, including 40 of 41-spliced surprise minor

Bell Hanging
– Hung small ring of six at Woodlands in 1992, later augmented to eight
– Invented Lichfield Diocesan Mobile Belfry in 1998 and did the bell hanging
– Made six wheels for Whitmore remodelling in 2003, six for Stone in 2012 and six for Ipstones in 2016, the last two helped by David Stott
– Have hung several model bells in scales from one-eighth up to one-third
– He has made fifty wheels in total
– For forty years have run Gay’s Stays, which buys stays in bulk and sells them on to towers all over the country, with proceeds to Keele Tower Fund

Simulators and Teaching, Central Council Publications
Raising and Lowering John Longridge Books
– Various articles in The Ringing World

Phil Gay, painted by his wife Rowena Gay

Phil Gay, painted by his wife Rowena Gay

This entry was written in May 2023.

Related Episodes
A Life Well Rung: An Interview with the Brilliant Phil Gay
June 08, 202300:32:17

A Life Well Rung: An Interview with the Brilliant Phil Gay

Is Phil Gay a typical ringer, an atypical ringer or just total legend? Show host Cathy finds out as she delves into a ringing life very well lived. From inventing a mobile belfry, developing the Keele Ringing Summer School, teaching his family to ring and hanging his own mini-ring in his garage to notching up 1000 peals...