Remembering Sue Fraser

Sue Fraser

When I started hand bell ringing in 2015, I found myself stood next to Sue who was very helpful to me, particularly in the early days as I began to acquire the necessary skills.  I remained playing next to Sue for the following five years whenever the Alton Handbell Ringers met.

Sue was a lovely, highly intelligent lady and during that time, we had lots of laughs together.  She was my partner in chime!

I was shocked to hear earlier this year that Sue was suffering from an aggressive form of cancer and deeply saddened by her death at the beginning of May. 

One incident I recall was at a Christmas concert in the church at Uttoxeter – the one that was so dimly lit that we all struggled to read our music.  Not everyone was required to ring all pieces and so Sue and I were sat out in the stalls.  Soon Alan and Wendy started giving us funny looks and we suddenly realised that we should be up there, taking part in the next piece.  What had happened was that we had got mixed up between two pieces entitled ‘Frosty the Snowman’ and ‘Walking in the air’ which of course is from the film ‘The Snowman’.  We were to ring in one but not the other.  A week later, I sent Sue a Christmas card featuring pictures of snowmen for future reference.

Wendy decided that it would be good to get together in memory of Sue to play some of Sue’s favourite pieces and this took place in Alton village hall in the afternoon of September 8th.

Pictures of Sue and the team were set out on a table for reflection and the afternoon started with a good solid rendition of Processional Celebration.  There followed a number of very different and contrasting pieces including Di Tanjong Katong, Polaris and the Northern Lights and the Takeda Rhapsody.

It is somewhat ironic that I now play bells 17 and 18 which is where Sue used to play and I think of her a lot.

Apparently Sue had rung a Beatles medley in her very first concert back in 2013 and so we felt it fitting to play ‘Yesterday’ which is quite demanding for bells 17,18, 19 & 20.

Unfortunately, we did not play ‘Thaxted’, which was another of Sue’s favourites, because we did not have a full team due to some team members being away on holiday, but no doubt we will reflect on her contribution whenever it is played in future.

It is of course very sad that we have lost Sue, but It is great to have some young blood in our team once more and Becky, who has only been with us for a few weeks, plays very well and is now a key member of the team.

We concluded our afternoon session with the firm favourite ‘Celebration’ followed by a cup of tea and some fine cake provided by Jean.

Rest in peace Sue – you will never be forgotten.


Dave Jones

NEW NORMAL After Easing of Covid Regulations.

No more inside ringing at Glenfield.

Each ringer has their own socially distanced table.

Weekly meet in Alton Village hall.


New members very welcome.

Old skills and techniques to be recalled.

Remember the sanitiser.

Masks to be worn when moving about.

Added video to the improved website. Have a look.

Lets get ready for our Christmas Concert. Sat 4th Dec.   


Peter Walker August 2021

Post Covid practice

Socially distanced in the Village Hall

I have just returned  from Alton Village Hall after the first full team practice since the start of the COVID Lockdown last year. It was strange to be alone on the journey as my travel buddy, Sue Fraser, passed away earlier this year after a short illness. We used to work together and spent the journey reminiscing. We often got to bell practice in a fit of giggles.

It was so exciting to be together as a team once more. Wendy and Alan had set out the hall so that we had our own table, bells, music stand and, most importantly, our personal copy of the music!

When we started playing the sound was incredible, so different from our small group practices in Wendy and Alan’s garden during lockdown.

It is wonderful to be ringing together again.

Sarah Williams.

Music heard in a Garden

Six resolute ringers in Alton

Were heard playing bells with their coats on,

The weather was foul

The wind it did howl

But brave souls they continued to play on.


Peter Walker 13.7.20     Photo by Alan Walters

12 Bells Blowing in the Wind


How did we play on Friday afternoon?

Did we play all the notes in the right place or too soon?

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind,

The answer is blowing in the wind!


Did we ever get to the end of a piece?

We pegged the music, struggled with our stands

We turned, clasped tightly and used both our hands,

Did we succeed?

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind

The answer is blowing in the wind!


The gazebo danced and swayed………..

We battled on, our team of six

We laughed, we played, we did our best,

We didn’t even sit down to rest!

How did we manage to stay upright?

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind

The answer is blowing in the wind!


When we valiantly managed to play our last piece

The wind finally started to calm and to cease

We packed up our bells and peeled off a glove

Then sat down to partake of date loaf and tea, which we love!


We talked of our pleasure

At being back together

Of sharing the space

Each in our own place.

What made it such fun?

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind,

The answer is blowing in the wind.


Jean Reilly 10.7.20     Photo by Alan Walters 10.7.20