Obituary: James Alexander Sutherland

It was with great sadness that family, neighbours, friends from near and far heard of the death of James (Jim) Alexander Sutherland, at the age of 84; a real character in Wragby.


This was shown by a packed All Saints Church for a Thanksgiving Service, which followed cremation at Lincoln.

The service at All Saints Church was conducted by Rev Mark Holden, with Finlay McGhee leading the family in playing the pipes.

Les Townsend played the organ and Barry Jones organised the ringing of the bells.

A peal was rung in his honour and, throughout the afternoon, following the service, two further peals and multiple quarters were rung by ringers from a wide area.

The eulogy was given by his son Robin, on behalf of the family.

James, Jim, Jim trim, postie Jim, husband, father, granddad and uncle as he was known by to so many.

Jim was born in Geddes village in the county of Nairnshire, on the Moray Firth on May 21, 1932, the second child of the David and Dora Sutherland, his older sister being Helen or “Nellie” as known by the family.

His father was a farm worker at that time and was offered a job in Lincolnshire and invited to bring “the wife and those bairns” Nellie and Jim.

Home for the family then became Walesby and it was there his younger sister Grace and brother David were born.

After leaving school, Jim obtained an apprenticeship in gent’s hairdressing before leaving to attend to his National Service duties, serving with the Black Watch regiment spending time in Berlin.

It was around 1953 Jim started to learn bell ringing at Walesby, with him and his friends not being too good to start with.

He knew the tower captain at Caistor, Tom Richards, as he cut his hair.

After work, he would take Tom back to his home on his motor bike followed by some 20 ringers from Claxby and Walesby each paying 3d to cover the petrol and a pint in the Caistor Top House pub.

By the early 60s Claxby, Caistor and Walesby were the only towers between Lincoln and Grimsby with change ringing available, which led to regular visits from those towers and a few of them being invited to ring at the Cathedral and St James in Grimsby.

About that time, it was noticed Jim would be missing two or three practice nights and it was soon discovered a young shepherd’s daughter had caught his eye.

In 1963, Jim and Margaret were married at Grasby, with Tom Richards organising the bells, and that saw the end of the motorbike. The couple made their home at Holton-cum-Beckering and Jim set up his own hairdressing business in Bardney Road.

Their first child Pamela was born. In the mid 60s.

Jim obtained a property in Wragby market place, now known as The Corn Dolly, and he moved his business and home there, where son Robin and daughter Heather were born and resided in Wragby for 56 years.

With changing hair styles and fashions, Jim decided to supplement the family income by becoming a part-time postman.

In the early 70s, with the opportunity of buying the gate house on Wirehill Lane and his progression to full time posting, Jim wrapped up his scissors and, never one to miss an opportunity, with a quarter of land he began to keep a “few animals”.

Relying on a generator for electricity the family were living ‘off the grid’ 30 years before it was trendy to do so.

Jim’s love of bells was never far away and he helped with the refurbishment of the six bells at Wragby church.

He also took on the position of tower captain, a position he held for about 30 years, organising practice nights, encouraging and coaching new ringers, organising trips, tours, quarters and peels.

Around the 90s, his health had another wobble and he took early retirement from the post round, but it did not slow him down.

By that time, granddaughter Bryony was born, the apple of his eye.

The upkeep of the gatehouse was overwhelming, so the family moved into Wragby, not wanting to leave their friends.

Grandsons Nathan and Cameron had by then joined the family clan.

Bell ringing was still very much in his blood which led him to more renovations to the tower and, with the help of many friends they helped refurbish towers at Tealby, Claxby and Middle Rasen.

With mixed amounts of success, he managed to get all three of his children to ring, but probably his proudest moment up the tower was on his birthday last year when he got to see his granddaughter Bryony, ring the bells – she had been learning in secret.

Jim was a proud, principled man, but as a parent he was always there to help his family in any way he could and encourage them in everything they did.

Not much of an academic himself, he took pride in watching Pamela go off to University, the first girl in the history of her secondary modern high school to do so.

His passion for his bells was only surpassed by his devotion to Margaret his wife, who he cared for up until the point his health would no longer allow.

The Rev Mark Holden said: “Apart from his dedication to bell ringing, helping maintain the tower, encouraging so many to join in ringing and doing so much to support the Church – he was a great sharer with the skills he had.

“He had a warmth that always welcomed people, making them feel included and special.

“There was his optimism and hopefulness. Jim always looked ahead and what input he possessed making things happen.

“All of his qualities were founded on his deep faith. Together with Margaret, they worshipped in the Church and supported so many events over the years.

He inspired so many others in their faith and will be very sadly missed by many and remembered with fondness by everyone.”

A poignant poem, The Dash, written by Linda Ellis was read out and granddaughter Bryony proudly read out a poem written by her grandfather in January 2016 – a brief account of his life.

Family mourners were: Margaret Sutherland (wife); Pamela Sutherland (daughter); Robin and Fiona Sutherland (son and daughter-in-law); Heather and Tony Sanderson (daughter and son-in-law); Bryony Sutherland and Daniel Gray (granddaughter and partner); Nathan and Cameron Sanderson, Sally Laking (grandsons); Helen Willey (sister); Barry and Christine Hurst (brother and sister-in-law); Meg Malcolm, Susan and Tom Anthony, Ros and Jacky Thompson (cousins); Robert Willey, Andrew Willey, Richard Burton, Simon and Marie Hurst, and Neil Hurst (nephews); Helen Scorrer, Sara Van de Graaf, Carol and Doug Lambie (nieces); Brenda Burr (sister-in-law, also representing Ken Burr and Bruce Curtis); Peter Hurst (brother-in-law); Rite Hubbard .

Names taken at church: Bob Clark (verger); Andrea Ward (also representing Andrew Cox; Yvonne Marshall and John Greaves, Weston Super Mare); Pauline Cooper (also representing Doug Clarke); Olive Paul); Robert Paul; Janet Kerkhoff; Garrett and Yvette Brown (also representing Jenny Brown); Dorothy Warr (also representing the family); Jo Bailey (also representing Janet Box and Vera Smart); Eileen Rushby; Alan Bruntlett; Barbara Hopper; Christine Young; Olga Taylor; Kevin Taylor; Keith Faulkner; Mr and Mrs Mike Rose; Charlotte and Ed Rout (nee Rose); John Dent; Mr and Mrs Roger Lourd; Brenda and David Bodily; Steve Alcock; Russell and Jean Green; Richard Spencer; Alan (Titch) Lee; Anne Green; Iris Armstrong; Maureen and Paul Pearce; Linda Raynor; P Steel and C Moore; Alf and Mary Shaw; Benny Hinchliffe (also representing Grant Hinchliffe); Valerie Charlett; Mr and Mrs Lenton; Eileen Espin; Anne Buffham; Mr and Mrs G Ward; Molly and Henry Burton (also representing Jonathon); Michael Melbourne (also representing Mrs J Melbourne); Geoff and Jenny Bolton (also representing Kathy Dunn and Pat Allen); Tressa Bruntlett (also representing Baz Bruntlett); Len Johnson; Anne Harris; Alex Ray; Chris Woodcock; Gordon Blackburn (also representing Yvonne Blackburn); Mr Broadhead; Sharon Harrop; Stephen and Janet Clarke; Tom Freeston; Janet Risdale; Brian Smith; Margaret Wright; Jessie Skellern; Bill and Lexie Brown; Dan and Sue Hare; Brian Lingard (also representing Ann Lingard); Ricky Scarboro (also representing Ron Applewhite); Joan Ketteringham; Richard Thornton; Margaret and John Kane; Russell and Sue Millson; Stephan Millson;

Margaret Robinson; Alice and Barry Jones; Mr and Mrs F Robinson; Charles and Sylvia Kade (also representing Friends of Walesby Church); John Kade (Tower Captain Grimsby Minster); Norma Marwood; Kath Alcock; Ann Johnson (also representing the family); John and Sandra Underwood; Mr G Briggs; Sandra Tindall; Dot and Mick Sandaver (also representing the family); Alan and Joan Payne; Roger and Margaret Pickett; Joan Simpson; Viv Simpson; Ann and Bob Hardwick; Janet Crafer; Dawn Murray (also representing Stuart Lowman); Polly (Polly’s Produce, Stainton-by-Langworth); Edward and Jennifer Vear; Chris Jackson; Gill Gladman; Margaret Parker; John Jones; John and Jenny Bird; Yvonne Woodcock; Maureen Steer; Hazel Belfield; Derek Phillips-Eagle; David Howsam (also representing Rosemary Howsam); Keith Gladman; Pauline Sharpe; Sylvia Taylor; Alan Bird; Andrew Lord (also representing Northern Branch of Northern Bell Ringers); Margaret Saunders; Roy Tomlinson; Frank and Maureen Kennington; Mr and Mrs Davy; Anita Jenkins; Christine Newton; Sheila Cartwright; Ann Watson; Kay Franklin; Mr and Mrs Cannon (representing the seniors); Peter Limage; Charles Scott; Jill and Michael Day; Dave Birkett; Faye and Jim Campbell; Roy and Peggy Shuttleworth (also representing Eric and Margaret Seargent); Mr and Mrs Malcolm Johnson; Sue Johnson (also representing Paul Johnson); Mr and Mrs A Humphries; Joyce Stott; Rita Dixon; Mr and Mrs D Rowe; Robin Rogers; John Lacy; Marc Truman; Ann Phillipson; Jane and Richard Hough (nee Cook); Karen Hart; G Osborne; John Edwards (also representing Lynne Edwards); Mike Iremonger; Alan Butler; Ian and Joy Till; Thelma Fysba; Sue Faull; Pauline Gill-Stafford; Jack Gill-Stafford; Richard Corrigan; Ricky Spittles and James Waters (also representing Wizz and Shaun Murphy, and all staff at the butchers); Richard and Ann Mazur; Valerie Wright (also representing Stephen Wright); Alice Hodgson; Jean Tring; Andrew Whylie; Roz Wiltshire; Sheila Cartwright; Betty Lammingham; Susan Sinclair; Wendy Wooling (also representing Thelma Humberstone); Colin Disney; Ann Watson; Linda Westbury; Mr and Mrs Taylor; Dougie Andrew (also representing Carol Andrew); Geoff and Chris West; Sue Waterfall (also representing Washingborough Bell Ringers); Ruth Keys; Michael Strachey; Catherine Wheatly (also representing Mick); Bernard Pixsley (also representing Sarah Bellhouse); Jessica Foster; Peter Lacy; Joanne Clark; Alex Mathieu; Steve Johnson and Tina; Richard Spittle; Pat Elwick; Colin Ward; Clare Howard (also representing Bill Booty); Eddie Martin; Tony and Isobel Barker; Mr and Mrs R Hepinstall; Michael and Janet Foulds; Stuart Bamford; Jill Harness and Steve Glen; Mr I Bryan; Mrs K Lingard (also representing Sylvia Laking and Matthew Laking); Karen and Richard Judson; Les Townsend (organist); Mr and Mrs Tony Trevor; Johnathon Clark; Brenda and Michael Gilman; Kate Morgan; Jim Benner; Mr and Mrs A Tomlinson; Philip Dawson; Mr and Mrs T Keal.

Funeral arrangements were by the Lincolnshire Co-operative Funeral Services and donations raised £1,080 for LIVES.