Noye's Fludde at Lichfield Cathedral

Wendy, Lynne, Josie, Alan, Jean and Lindsay in Lichfield Cathedral
The event T shirt

10th & 11th November 2023

We were very pleased to be asked to take part in a performance of Noye’s Fludde, by Benjamin Britten, in Lichfield Cathedral. It is a one act opera intended primarily for amateur performers and involves adult and child soloists, choir, crowds of children representing the animals and a musical score which includes orchestra, piano, a recorder group, tuned mugs and handbells. 

The performance in Lichfield was arranged to celebrate 20 years of MusicShare which is a school singing programme that works with primary, secondary and special schools around Lichfield and across the West Midlands. The production involved 16 singers in the main cast, a young ballet dancer, a 30 strong ladies choir, 50 players in the orchestra and about 200 youngsters across the two nights, plus a lot of technical lighting, sound and video. The groups involved were listed on the back of the event T-shirt where we came first alphabetically. It was quite an undertaking, masterminded by Cathy Lamb, who is Director of MusicShare and who also conducted the performance with great enthusiasm.

The handbell part, in itself, is not particularly difficult although the rhythms are quite tricky. The challenge is in fitting in with the rest of the orchestra, singers and the voice of God. We were able to practise our part independently a few times and then went to the cathedral for a full rehearsal; fortunately we had a good position just behind the violins with a good view of the conductor. After a couple of runs through we had a good idea of what else was going on and how the conductor would bring us in so, with another run through ourselves, we were ready for the performances. In the end we were pleased with our playing, particularly the second performance. It was lovely to hear our bells sounding out across the whole cathedral and we gather from friends in the audience that it sounded good, which was a great relief.

It was a wonderful experience, a bit daunting but a great privilege, to be a part of such a production with so many enthusiastic young people involved and with the audience filling the nave of the cathedral on both nights. 

Alan Walters

Cheadle Arts Festival

Saturday 14th October 2023

Cheadle Arts Festival


Alton Handbell Ringers were invited to ring at Cheadle Arts Festival at their Afternoon Tea event in the Guild Hall from 2pm.

We were only able to provide enough members to ring 12 bell pieces. However, what we lacked in numbers we made up with enthusiasm.

Cheadle U3A Ukulele Band played 3 sets with a very varied and lively programme. There were sea shanties, 1920s songs and a Cliff Richard medley to name but a few.

Cheadle Community Choir also performed 2 sets of beautiful singing. It was lovely to see a very wide age range amongst their members, all performing really well. They sang a wide range of songs with some amazing harmonies.

Alton Handbell Ringers’ pieces were enthusiastically received. We rang a mix of tunes from Shepherds Hey to Pomp and Circumstance, finishing with Rule Britannia.

There were delicious cakes and plenty of tea available to keep everyone going whilst listening to the other performers.

St Johns Church Hall Thursday October 5th

Alton Handbell Ringers at Dovedale WI

Handbells Report October 6th 2023.


We played our first full team concert of the Autumn season at St Johns Church hall in Ashbourne, for the Dovedale Women’s institute on Thursday October 5th.

The hall was warm and welcoming, and there was a large and appreciative audience. We were a little depleted in numbers – 5 members down, so we played a selection of pieces chosen for 3 octaves… some of which we had not played for some time. However, we settled quickly, and acquitted ourselves well.

We began with Ode to Joy, and varied the programme by playing the chimes (Chime Lullaby) and demonstrating various techniques in God’s Train and Shepherd’s Hay. We ended with one of our favourites – a rousing rendition of Resound and rejoice.

We also demonstrated some of the 12 bell pieces using the Haythorne Bells which we have borrowed.

The evening ended with a quiz – 20 questions based on a bells theme, cleverly compiled by a WI member, along with tea and cakes.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, with many of the audience expressing interest and wanting to have a go themselves. Many thanks to all involved.


Article by Wendy in West Midlands Region of HRGB Newsletter

 ALTON HANDBELL Ringers had four new ringers join at the beginning of 2022 to make a team of 16 members. We leased a two-octave set of handbells from HRGB last year, which has enabled us to double up on some parts to help with training and provide extra volume if needed. We enjoyed three full team concerts in November and December2022.The final one in Alton village hall was our fundraiser for the local hospice when we raised£775.The evening included Peter Walker, one of our team, leading a rousing sing-along of the Twelve Days of Christmas, on his accordion. We were even asked for an encore of Frosty the Snowman, at the end of the concert! A twelve-bell team rang at Chatsworth House on two occasions over Christmas. We were under a gazebo in the courtyard, donning Christmas hats and being full of Christmas cheer in spite of the cold! We had an appreciative audience and we always ask the children to join us for Jingle Bells on some small sets of jingle bells. We were pleased to be asked back into nursing homes for the first time since COVID. We had so many requests that we visited some after Christmas. We go with a twelve-bell team for these. We recently rang twelve bells at the beautiful Bethesda Chapel in Hanley. It is one of the largest non-conformist chapels outside of London and was built in 1819.There is a long, ongoing campaign to restore it. The acoustics were wonderful and we especially enjoyed playing 'Sheep may safely graze'. We continue to meet weekly and enjoy our monthly tea and cake sessions! We are working towards our autumn and Christmas concerts

Brookfields Nursing Home Monday 21st August 2023

Tea at Brookfields

A team of seven ringers plus Wendy, our Leader, visited Brookfields nursing home, Derby. We commenced with some old songs and were really pleased to hear the audience singing or humming along to Loves Old Sweet Song, Puff the Magic Dragon. Then we played a selection of hymns and ended our bell ringing with what we call our last night at the proms selection, which includes Trumpet Voluntary and Rule Britannia. These always seem very popular and make a resounding end to our performance.

After chatting with the residents we were very kindly served tea and biscuits which made a lovely end to the afternoon.