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Vale: John “Jingles” Williams 1956-2007

Henry Bennett

Back in 1987 John burst onto the Mendip caving scene.  For those of you who remember, those were heady days when the BEC regularly had a whip round for a barrel when the Hunters closed.  John was often at the forefront, pushing back the limits and taking the club motto to heart. Eventually he moved from London to live on Mendip to become more involved with the club. As well as a caver, he was also one half of the Belfry Boys who entertained many with their singing for several years in the 90s. Eventually after eleven years in the club he left to pursue other interests and was no longer seen much on Mendip.

After a long period of illness he finally succumbed and died on 20th March 2007.  His funeral was well represented by BEC members past and present. The following eulogy was given by his sister, Babs.


“The element potassium is a metal which, when dropped into water, dances fast and furious across the surface. Then quite suddenly it bursts onto the most exquisitely beautiful pink light. The light burns so brightly that it hurts you eyes. It is a really magnificent sight. So it was with John. He arrived in this world and danced, always trying to live life to the full. He was a very intelligent man who explored life in every way possible.

He explored the earth physically, both on land and at sea, through his passion for caving and scuba diving and in later years by combining the two when he took up the very challenging sport of cave diving. In all of these pursuits he was fearless and a great leader. For those of you who enjoyed these sports with him, you will know that he was enthusiastic and great fun to be with, always bringing a little bit of magic to any trip.

John also explored the world creatively. He had a great love of music and his tastes knew no bounds, as he loved rock, pop, folk and classical music equally. He was a very competent guitar player and enjoyed many years of singing and performing folk music. His creativity also expressed itself in the form of writing and he has written several short stories and poems and was actually in the process of writing his first novel.

John explored the world of technology and was a gifted computer whiz. He always astounded us with his ability to understand the latest cyber gadget to come on the market and I donÙt think he ever needed to read any instruction manuals!

John explored the world spiritually and had an in depth knowledge of most religions and beliefs. It was this side of him that made him a kind and caring person who was very generous with his spirit.

But for me he was the most wonderful brother. I could not have wished for better. He was always there for me through thick or thin and I will miss him dreadfully.

He was the light that burnt so very bright.

I will now read an anonymous poem, which I believe, conveys a message that John would want to leave you with.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there I do not sleep
I am a thousand wings that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain
When you waken in the morningÙs hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there”

Babs Williams