Our origin goes back to the 2012 St James Flower Festival organised by the Friends of St James when the church’s handbells were bought out of a cupboard where they had been languishing, unloved and unplayed for about 15 years. After a short practice they were rung during Evensong that day – the tune was Country Garden and still remains one of our favourite pieces.
After a short delay the team got together, self funding the initial additional equipment that we needed and enjoying the privilege of ringing a four octave mixed set of old English handbells, many of which probably date back to the late 1800’s and owned by the church.
Thanks to generous grants from the Christine Best Foundation we have been able to purchase mallets (used to achieve a staccato effect) and a lovely set of three octave set of handchimes.
Musically the team have progressed and with 13 members are now one of the larger teams in the South East Region of the Handbell Ringers of Great Britain. We perform all year round to local groups, care homes and have been part of the annual Handbell Service at Guildford Cathedral for many years. At Christmas time we have been invited to be part of local charity concerts/services organised by MacMillan Nurses and Shooting Star Chase. We also attend many South East Region Handbell rallies and host one of these in the parish centre during July most years – often performing a solo piece in front of around 100 other handbell ringers – quite daunting but to date have given an excellent account of ourselves.
We ring a wide range of music including hymns, carols, classical, traditional, folk, spiritual and pop. Our practices are great fun and in addition to music making always involve tea/coffee and biscuits and on special occasions something a little stronger!
We are always seeking new members to join us and you would be most welcome to come along to one of our Tuesday 7.30pm practice sessions in the Parish Hall (small hall). With a rudimentary knowledge of music and a little rhythm we would have you ringing along with us in no time.
Alan Sharps – Leader
Tele: 01784 244665