The East Midlands was the first of the eight regions to be formed and its inaugural meeting was held at St Wulfram’s Secondary Modern School, Grantham in April 1975.
Handbell ringing has been part of my life since I returned to Grantham in 1969.
Vaughan Evans was a teacher at secondary school and had formed a Junior Handbell team. He found sufficient interest in forming an adult team among several friends they rang 15 Handbells, belonging to the school, and I was asked to join them. We rang from numbers written on large pieces of card written by Vaughan.
From there, the team grew, as did the number of bells. The St. Wulfram’s Handbell Ringers had already been formed before I joined the team and over the years we changed to ringing from musical notation and from “off table”.
Very soon we joined HRGB and began to be involved in the Society. devolution was in the air and regionalisation of the Society was debated at great length eventually the East Midlands was the first region to be formed in 1975. We had our first week-end rally at Burgh le Marsh, nr. Skegness which I believe was also a first. Massed ringing too was first performed in the UK at Grantham at a Rally at Saint Wulfram’s Secondary School at a rally which was attended by the National Chairman, Bill Hartley and HRGB Secretary John Partington.
I became the regional treasurer. We attended our first Rally at Preston, Lancs in 1974.
This is the second time I have held the office of Chairman of the Region and I look forward to meeting as many of you all during the coming year.
I have been ringing handbells for 30 years, starting with the Harlaxton Chimes under the direction of Richard Manton. On moving to Grantham, I joined Saint Wulfram’s Handbell Ringers; following the death of Vaughan Evans in 2007, I became Co-Musical Director with my husband John. John and I also formed a handbell group in the village of Caythorpe, where we live, using 12 Taylor’s bells that belong to the church and I am a member of Northern Bell Orchestra under the musical direction of Tim Willetts and Catherine O’Rourke.
I became a member of the East Midlands Committee in 2006 but serious illness in 2010 necessitated a break. I re-joined the committee and in 2013 was elected Regional Secretary and Representative on the National Executive Committee of HRGB.
For a number of years I have attended National Rallies and the Ring in Praise Seminar in Dunblane. I had a wonderful and fulfilling time at the International Symposium in Liverpool in 2012 and am looking forward to attending the 2013 National Residential Ringing Week for the first time.
Since my illness I am unable to ring with the same skill; however, I am still able to enjoy directing, conducting and arranging music for our teams.
My involvement with Handbells began in 1978 when I lived in Chester. A friend belonged to a local team and she said ringing Handbells was good fun and she felt sure I would love it. I did and was welcomed into the ‘Westminster Chimes’, so called because the lady who owned the 2 octave set of Whitechapel bells lived on the Duke of Westminster’s estate. Unfortunately, after 6 years, work commitments meant that we no longer had access to her bells.
Eight keen ringers and no Bells! A small grant from the NW Arts Council, fundraising and piggy banks raided enabled us to purchase 2 octaves of Malmark bells in 1985. The ’Cestrian Ringers’ were born. We attended numerous rallies (Regional & National) and enjoyed our many jaunts up to Dunblane as Scotland was then part of the North West Region. A memorable highlight was being invited to play at the National Rally in Tonbridge, Kent in 1988.
On moving to Northamptonshire in 1989 I had difficulty finding a team to join. However, in 2002, I read in a local paper that the ‘Stanwick Handbell Ringers’ were looking for new members as a grant from the National Lottery had enabled them to purchase a 2 octave set of Whitechapel bells. There are currently 12 of us in the team and fundraising and 2 further grants from other organisations have enabled a further octave of bells to be bought. Three of us are now trying to master the art of ringing ‘four-in-hand’ to add variety to the team’s performances. Handbell ringing is still good fun!
Contact with the region can be made with members of the committee.
Chairman - Brian Buttery
email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel: 01476 578152.
Secretary - Jane Heald
email: email@example.com; Tel: 01400 272445
(for all enquiries and correspondence)
Treasurer - Marie Allen
Magazine Editor - Cathy Nettle
email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. 01507 490956
© HRGB East Midlands 2016