The Alton Handbell Ringers were formed in 1991 by Wendy and Alan Walters when they moved to the village of Alton as they had previously rung handbells with a team in Solihull. The Alton team was started with a group of six ringers who rang on the set of 12 handbells from St. Peter’s Church Alton.
Wendy and Alan bought their own set of 2½octaves of bells in 1991 and the team grew to nine people. More bells have been added since, to make the 3½ octave (44 bells) that we ring on today with twelve ringers under their musical director Wendy Walters. A set of hand chimes was added in 2003.
We ring a variety of music including classical, hymns, folk tunes, and musicals.
We have rung at a variety of venues including Kings Hall Stoke Service of Remembrance, Victoria Hall, Hanley town centre, local WIs, flower festivals, weddings, garden centres, fund raising concerts, Sainsbury’s in Leek, Sudbury National Trust, Shugborough House. We have even rung on live television on the ITV breakfast show from the Donna Louise Trust Children’s Hospice.
At Waitrose, Uttoxeter, ringing carols and collecting for Donna Louise Children's Hospice, Christmas 2018
Photos by Alan Walters
We also ring at many nursing and residential homes. Six ringers and 12 bells are used on these occasions.
We are members of the Handbell Ringers of Great Britain, an organisation set up to promote the art of ringing music on handbells. We are in the West Midlands Region and were pleased to represent the region in a concert at the annual rally of the HRGB in 2014. We enjoy the opportunity to meet up with other handbell groups from around the region when we attend rallies. Some of the team are also members of the Northern Bell Orchestra.
We are a friendly enthusiastic group who like to share the enjoyment of handbell ringing with their audience whilst raising money for charity. Each year we hold a concert to raise money for the Donna Louise Trust Children’s Hospice and we also support an additional charity each year.