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.