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Bingley Handbells News


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News July 2023

Uncategorised Posted on Thu, July 06, 2023 13:04:39

At Bingley we have established a tradition for an annual afternoon tea celebration.

Any excuse will do!

This year however it was rather special as 17 of us marked the retirement from the handbell team of Roger Pollard.

Roger is one of the founder members of our team. He is part of a group of us who were originally tower bell ringers and was instrumental in the restoration of our set of Shaws Handbells in 2010.

Over the years Roger has been our treasurer, our webmaster and of course our bell maintenance manager. He adjusts our bells and polishes them so they sparkle. Without Roger’s input we would struggle and his shoes will be very hard to fill.

Once again Lavinia’s of Bingley supplied us with a splendid meal of sandwiches, cakes and scones which we supplemented with tea, coffee and fizz.

As a token of our appreciation of Roger’s hard work Jane Lynch, our chair, presented him with a garden centre voucher and a card signed by us all. Both hers and Roger’s speeches were brief but emotional and as he departed he promised to return and to help us out if needed. He leaves our group in a healthy position. We have gained 4 new ringers since the pandemic and usually manage to ring all 3 octaves of bells at our weekly practices.

News November 2022

2022 News Posted on Sun, November 20, 2022 13:39:56

On 8 November a group of us rang for the Hoyle Court Ladies Luncheon Club. This was a mid week afternoon performance but we were able to play our 2 octave repertoire successfully. We arrived in good time and were treated to a drink (no alcohol before ringing though!) while we waited for the ladies to finish their meal and draw their raffle.

Roger had prepared some words about the history of our group and some background to the pieces we were playing and his “banter ” appeared to be appreciated by the audience. He did not go into too much detail though as a number of the ladies had heard us perform before. Hoyle Court is a lovely venue and last time we performed there it was for a local Masons’ Lodge Christmas Dinner attended by a number of the ladies. We are grateful for the generous donation from the lodge when we were first fund raising for the restoration of our bells and we are sure the ladies appreciated the contrast between the bells we ring and the soot contaminated samples of unrestored bells that we brought with us.

It was a shame however that there was no time after our performance for our traditional “have a go” session so instead we invited any of the audience who were interested to join us on one of our practice nights in the New Year.

Our other November booking will be at the end of the month at St Wilfrid’s Church, Gilstead which will be our first performance of our Christmas pieces this year in advance of our busy December calendar. This year we will be performing without Anne, a stalwart member of the team for many years, who has recently had a hip replacement operation. We wish her all the best for a speedy recovery.

This is our last news of the year so all that remains is to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Solna Burnham

Secretary – 07884 233382

News October 2022

2022 News Posted on Tue, October 18, 2022 12:23:43

W|here does time go to – as I write this we are already practising our Christmas repertoire! We have quite a few engagements already lined up and are looking forward to a “normal” Christmas.

In September we played our usual 2 octave music for two events. We played at Springbank Care Home in Silsden nd at Aire Valley Court in Bingley.. The lady who organised the visit to Springbank had heard us play at Silsden Methodist Church and seemed quite impressed – hence the booking and Aire Valley was a return visit. It is always nice to be asked to return to somewhere we have performed before – it certainly makes us feel we must be doing something right!

In October we hosted a North East Region Autumn Rally at the Methodist Church in Silsden. This a lovely venue with a large main room, smaller room for showing a film and a well equipped kitchen and cafe area. Luckily for us our new member Eileen helps there regularly and able to show us how to use all the catering equipment.

Ringers from as far away as Beverley, Messingham, Sheffield, Brighouse and Otley (and all points in between) attended. We were particularly pleased to welcome the Junior team from Clifton and the Kildwick Mini Ringers. The children from Kildwick had only been ringing together for 4 or 5 weeks and put in an amazing performance in front of a room full of experienced ringers.

A lovely day was had by all. Each team performed a few pieces and then everyone (including the juniors) rang Chariots of Fire (conducted by our Regional Chair John Atkinson) and Polaris & the Northern Lights (conducted by our own Clair Bonner) together. Most importantly there was plenty of opportunity to eat, drink and socialise – numerous cuppas were consumed!

Additionally Peter Fawcett (author of Ringing for Gold about the development of handbell tune ringing) presented his film “Travelling in Time” which a number of the audience enjoyed over the lunch interval.

All of our ringers contributed in some way to the success of the day, but we are relieved that it will be some time before it will be our turn to host the event again!

News August 2022

2022 News Posted on Mon, August 01, 2022 11:18:11

71 bells manufactured by Shaws of Bradford were always known to be in the tower of All Saints Church, Bingley, but it was not until 2010 that a group of the Tower Bell Ringers rescued them and started fund raising towards their restoration.

After the first 2 octaves of our bells were transformed into a beautiful ringable condition by Taylors of Loughborough, the Bingley Handbell Ringers were formed.

Orginally the group comprised just tower bell ringers but we were soon joined by others who heard about our efforts. The majority, but certainly not all, had some connection with the church.

Over the years ringers have come and gone and we realised last week that only 4 of the present team of 15 were founding members of our group.

One of those is Roger Pollard, one of those who was originally a tower bell ringer and is particularly musical. For the vast majority of the time he has been the only man in the team. How he puts up with all of us ladies I really don’t know.

Roger was our first treasurer when we separated from the tower bell ringers and is now our Webmaster. He was instrumental in setting up an online sign up sheet so that we all know how many people are available for a performance or practice and thus how much milk and biscuits we need!

As well as performing with the band Roger also goes on the road with a few restored and unrestored bells giving interesting talks to local groups.

10 years ago we held a joint 150th party to celebrate his 60th birthday and the 50th  and 40th birthdays of 2 other ringers. This year saw Roger’s 70th and it was time for another celebration.

We decorated our practice table with linen table cloths, china and glasses so that we could enjoy an afternoon tea on cake stands supplied by a local cafe and supplemented with tea, coffee and prosecco. It says something of how well thought of by the other members of the team Roger is in that there was a full turn out that evening even including one retired ringer.

Afterwards we were able to take the opportunity to take some new photographs and update our website and Facebook page.

Many Happy Returns Roger and may you continue to ring with us for many more years to come.

NEWS July 2022

2022 News, Uncategorised Posted on Wed, July 13, 2022 09:02:33

Another month, another performance!

On 7 July a group of us together with our 2 friends from Leeds again performed at Wilsden Village Hall for the Thursday Group. We have visited the hall on a number of previous occasions and even for that group before. Despite the hot summer weather there was a good turnout to watch us and our performance of our best 2 octave pieces was well received.

Sadly only 2 of the audience joined us for the Have a Go session afterwards but they did very well.

We do have difficulties performing mid week during the day as many of us have work or childcare commitments so without Christine and Roger joining us we would have struggled. We thank them for their assistance again.

Solna Burnham


June 2022 News

2022 News Posted on Tue, June 21, 2022 08:43:44

Over the jubilee weekend we rang handbells for the special event of a Christening. The baby concerned was Daniel Cater and we had previously rung for the wedding of his parents in the same church, St Mary’s at Burley in Wharfedale. We felt honoured to be part of the next step in the family’s life.

We rang a number of applicable pieces including a Cradle Song and Frere Jacques at the back of the church as the congregation arrived and mingled. Then we rang again after the actual baptism as part of the service.

Despite our location at the rear of the church and the various interruptions of child and baby chatter we felt the performance went well and it was good to perform once again.

8 ringers attended the Thursday Club at Silsden Methodist Church on the afternoon of 9th June. We played our regular repertoire of 2 octave music. It was the first proper concert for Zoila our ten year old young ringer. She did amazingly well and was the star of the show.

When we finished playing some of our audience came up to have a go, which was good fun. The afternoon finished with tea and cakes.

The Methodist Church is a great venue and we will return there on 8th October for the HRGB North East Region Autumn Rally.

News May 2022

2022 News Posted on Mon, May 16, 2022 18:57:19

On 14th May 6 of our ringers including Zoila, our young ringer, attended the regional Spring Rally in Grassington. This events usually takes place annually but due to COVID it had been cancelled in 2019 and 2020.

Normally the hall is absolutely packed but on this occasion fewer teams attended and most of them were short of players possibly because they were unwilling to attend a mass event or because they were unwell. Some of the groups had only just begun ringing together again and were short of practice.

We ourselves could only raise a band of 6 ringers for various reasons. However we performed a number of pieces for 12 bells and Zoila in particular excelled herself winning praise from a number of very experienced ringers.

We are now planning a number of other performances and events as handbell ringing hopefully approaches normality.

if you are looking for a new hobby why not join us in Church House one Wednesday evening to see what it is all about?

Solna Burnham


07884 233382

National Rally April 2022 (or was it 2020?)

2022 News Posted on Sun, April 17, 2022 17:47:02

Last weekend three of our group attended the National Handbell Rally in Sheffield.

The organisation of the rally is allocated on a rotational basis to each region of HRGB (Handbell Ringers of Great Britain) and in 2020 it was the turn of the North East Region of which we are part. 2 of our team, myself and Jane our Chair, are now on the regional committee and were involved in the planning which began back in 2018 with the search for a venue which met all the necessary requirements including a large concert venue, breakout rooms for workshops, reasonably priced en suite rooms and an easily reachable location.

After much deliberation the Royal Victoria Hotel in Sheffield (close to the M1 and railway station) was chosen and the work began. The hotel was an original Railway Hotel and we therefore chose a railway theme with platforms, enquiry offices and tickets!

However, as we could never have anticipated, Covid struck after all the arrangements had been made and items with the “Sheffield 2020” logo had been purchased. The event was cancelled and by some amazing piece of foresight it was postponed not to the next year but to 2022.

The bonus from our point of view was that Clair, our musical director, who had been unwell in 2020 was able to take part. She was chosen to conduct 2 workshops entitled Ringing from Scratch where she took a mixed ability band from sight reading to perfection on one piece in 75 minutes! She might have been billed as a New Leader but she was given participants who included very experienced ringers who themselves were leading workshops later in the day! Didn’t she do well?!

Jane and I spent 2 days stewarding (effectively guiding) delegates and we adhered to the Regional Chair’s instructions to “smile all weekend as if you have a coat hanger in your mouth” although I am not sure that all of them appreciated it when she took the Railway theme to the extent of telling them that they were too late for dinner as the Buffet Car had left the platform!

Not only did we all take part in interesting and varied workshops , but we also had the opportunity of attending 2 concerts – one by the Northern Bell Orchestra and one by a number of very different groups and we also met so many ringers with different skills from so many different parts of the UK.

As we drove back to Bingley late on Saturday night we reflected on the first National Rally we had attended and where we might go in the future. The general consensus was that although we might not make it over the border to Stirling in 2023 we were keen to visit Kettering in 2024.

Solna Burnham

07884 233382

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