Handbell plea for West Norfolk church group
2010: A plea has gone out from a West Norfolk group for an old church handbell, so that they can start two new children’s ringing groups to perform at school and church concerts.
Retired sports teacher Christine Dean from Heacham volunteers at local primary schools, youth groups, disabled groups and retirement homes to lead the children and adults in playing music using 29 ancient traditional church handbells from St Mary's Snettisham.
Christine said, "The handbells are really well used at more than 60 events each year. We rediscovered the bells in the church vestry cupboard in 1998 and have been playing them ever since."
Christine has run several events and taster sessions, including a children's fun day at Norwich Cathedral which was a great success with over 200 participants.
"We have converted 100 favourite tunes and hymns into numbers written on large portable white display card sheets so that anyone can be in the 'bells band' anywhere or even lead us as the conductor and can play successfully any tunes instantly within about four minutes rehearsing! It is such fun and for all ages and is also enjoyed by groups with learning difficulties because even those who cannot read can join in. Playing two bells each is also really useful for improving memory and co-ordination - almost a musical suduko!"
This month, Christine is starting up two new voluntary groups in Norfolk primary schools who plan to play the bells as part of their school Christmas concerts and village church Christmas services and to entertain elderly residents in their nearby retirement homes.
Do you have handbells that you could loan to the group?
To ensure the success of this venture, the groups desperately need to find a small bell D - the same pitch as the descant recorder note (This bell is number 9 in the Loughborough Taylors Bell Foundry Catalogue). This bell is needed for almost all the tunes and hymns and costs £250 to buy new.
If anyone has an old set of church handbells that they never play with this particular note who could temporarily loan the bell to the group or if anyone is willing to sell a bell secondhand please contact Christine. The group is also looking for three other missing sharps bells that to complete their two octaves set.
Contact Christine on 01485 571167 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured: A group of bellringers from St Mary's Church