It was a very tight schedule on Sunday 12th December 2021 when we went to play 12 bells at St Lawrence’s Church. We were there to set up at 3.30 pm and we had reckoned we would be finished by just after 5 pm, so we could be back in good time at St Peter’s Church in Alton for 5.45 pm for the Carol Service which was starting at 6 pm. Three of the ringers, including me, were singing in the choir that night.
When we walked into the church we were warmly welcomed by ladies selling raffle tickets and they showed us which pews were reserved for us in front of the congregation. They were very pleased to see us and we set up all the bells and stands at the front by the pulpits, ready to play.
The Carol service that evening was a traditional one with prayers, readings and carols.
We had to wear masks while seated until we did our bell ringing performances, when we were allowed to take them off and we made the most of it by smiling or grinning at the audience.
We played Christmas music and carols for two sessions that evening. The congregation seemed to really enjoy it. In the second performance Wendy gave out the sleigh bells to all the children in the congregation just before we played “Jingle Bells”. There was a very positive response from them and they were excited to be involved. They were encouraged to play along to the beat, or to their own beat and they had a great time!
Soon afterwards, the vicar drew the service to a close and then he began to draw out the raffle tickets, there were lots of lovely looking hampers provided and other prizes.
Time was ticking and we really had to leave very soon in order to get back for the Alton Carol Service, so it was quickly decided that Dave and Lynne would stay until the end and would pack up the bells and stands into their cars and bring them back.
So we gave our apologies and left the church leaving Lynne in charge of our raffle tickets. We whizzed back to Alton just in time for Carol Service at St. Peter’s.
Ironically Joan and I both won a raffle prize each, which poor Lynne had to bring back for us, sadly not managing to win one for herself!