It was a typically wet bank holiday Monday, but members of St Laurence Chobham handbell ringers joined with junior ringers from St Paul’s, and played their hearts out at the Horsell May Fayre held on Woking’s Wheatsheaf recreation grounds. We even managed to bring the sunshine out to listen!
The stage is set at the Great Hall Exeter University for the start of our 50th Anniversary celebrations to mark the Golden Anniversary of the Hand Bell Ringers of Great Britain.
Exeter University played host this year to the Hand Bell Ringers of Great Britain annual National Rally with many Groups and Handbell teams from across the country including Chobham taking part in a weekend of ringing activities to mark this special golden occasion.
Christmas 2016 was a really busy time for us, so we’ll be taking a well earned rest in January, but here’s some photos.
When we played ‘In the bleak mid-Winter’, we conjured up a bleak wind that blew all our music away, even threatening to do the same with our music stands & musical director too!
Somehow we managed to hold onto our bells and keep playing attracting rapturous applause from an appreciative audience.
Here are some of the venues where we played:
St Lawrence Church, High Street, Chobham.
High Cross Church Camberley.
St. Nicholas Church, Shepperton.
Woking Christmas Market
Jacqui reaches the big 90!
Chobham had a very busy year ringing at all sorts of events throughout 2016.
One of the last and most momentous events of 2016 was celebrating the 90th birthday of St Lawrence Cobham’s longest serving handbell ringer Jacqui Billings. She reached this amazing milestone in December 2016 and we could not let it go by unnoticed.
Jacqui has been ringing handbells with the team for almost 40 years now and her dedication and commitment to the team is unrivalled. She is very rarely absent from her bell ringing duties at St Lawrence Chobham and even on her birthday she joined the team to play at the annual Christmas church service.
Jacqui’s belling ringing has taken her across the globe from Australia to USA. Her bell ringing appearances over the years have included the Generation Game with Jim Davidson, BBC Radio 2 with Chris Evans and in December 2016 BBC Radio Surrey to name but a few.
Many of her family members have played handbells with St Lawrence Chobham and some still play handbells in various capacities today. Jacqui also finds time to continue teaching Maths and French to school pupils who need that extra bit of help and she can also be seen cycling around her local area in Camberley. When she is not doing all this she still finds time to spend with her family including her great grandchildren.
Jacqui you are one remarkable lady – here’s to many more years ringing those bells!!
For the macular society in Farnborough, Christmas came early this year when our small ensemble bell coir played at their November meeting and a competition was run to select festive music beginning with a variety of musical intervals, and there was a prize for the person who gave most correct answers.
The Bell ringers were very pleased to take part in the Songs of Praise service once again.
We played “wonderful world’ and the children’s singing was wonderful!
Perhaps Denbies Vineyard has a hotline to the weather controller, but after a week of rain and wind Sunday 11 September dawned bright and clear! Good news of St Lawrence Chobham Handbell Ringers who were due to play on the route of the Denbies “Bacchus” Marathon, in which the runners were raising funds for the Princess Alice Hospice.
We played for about three hours (with lots of breaks for food, drink (yes, we were able to partake of a little wine) and photos with the runners, many of whom were in fancy dress.
The sky was blue, the sun was shining, we played well and we had a great time with lots of applause and “thank yous” from the runners as they went past. A very enjoyable community event!
Chobham St Lawrence Handbell Ringers get all sorts of requests to ring at events around the South of England. Some requests are more unusual than others and entertaining the runners at the 2015 Bacchus Half Marathon held on Denbies Wine Estate in September was no exception. We were asked to entertain runners at one of the refreshment stations enroute which was visited by around 1300 runners of which 1200 were in fancy dress.
‘I wanted to say a huge thank you to Chobham Handbells for their performance at Bacchus Festival on Sunday.
I understand the performance was very well received and sparked a lot of interest with some runners stopping to cheer which is fantastic.
I hope you enjoyed the day and various costumes that went past?
The day was a huge success for the hospice and I’d like to say thank you again for supporting us with the event.’
Alison Clare Adams
Community & Events Fundraiser
Princess Alice Hospice
While the runners came by to take a cup of water or sample some of the wines supplied by Denbies we entertained them with music from The Barber of Seville, Memory by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Summertime, one of George Gershwin’s finest. The runners were very appreciative of our playing and some even had a go at ringing. We were certainly entertained by them too as they glided by in the sunshine dressed as nuns, butterflies, Mexicans and Roman Centurions to name but a few. A good day was had by all!
We played our annual summer concert in Chobham Church on 17 July, with music by Rossini, Saint-Saens, Glenn Miller and Andrew Lloyd Webber. We had a large and appreciative audience and raised money both for the team and the church tower fund. The Surrey Advertiser commented that we brought down the house (though our support for the tower fund is intended to keep it upright!)