The Logo of the Cookham Hand Bell Ringers

The Cookham Handbell Ringers

HRGB: Handbell Ringers of Great Britain. The home of handbell ringing.

The Cookham Handbell Ringers were set up in 1968 with just three ringers.  Two of the original three are still ringing.  They were taught by one of the Holy Trinity tower bellringers, who was also a handbell ringer herself.  They used the Holy Trinity handbells which they still have to this day.  The handbells are needed by tower ringers for practising tower bell methods.  They did not give their first public performance until 1969, which was to the Good Companions in Cookham.


They now have seven members which is the maximum that would normally play together.  Music is supplied for three to seven people.  Each person holds four handbells, two in each hand.  The bells are placed in straps, so that they can be exchanged.


Their most exciting outing so far was to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party in July 1998, which was held for the Not Forgotten Association for Disabled Servicemen and Women.  They were only given six days notice and only six of them went although there were seven members by then.  The seventh, being very new, decided not to attend that time.  They played in the enormous marquée that stretches down the garden behind Buckingham Palace, that are specially erected for these occasions.  As the marquée was so large they had to play at one end first and then at the other end, so that everyone would be able to hear them.


Handbell Ringers at Buckingham Palace

The Cookham Handbell Ringers performing at Buckingham Palace


Their main aim is to raise money for charity and they are asked to attend all sorts of venues.  Each Christmas Eve they play at Cliveden, which they have been doing for over fifteen years and they have been playing at the Headquarters of the Folk Song and Dance Association at Cecil Sharp in London for the past three years for their Christmas Concert. This also includes Morris Dancers, Mummers and various bands.


In addition to this the Cookham Handbell Ringers entertain many organisations including schools, hospitals, Derby and Joans, WIs and also blind groups.  They are often asked to play at churches who do not have bells or have a restricted number of bells.  St John the Baptist at Cookham Dean is a favourite venue, also Hurley and Haddenham churches.


They play a large variety of music, from old favourites such as 'Down at the Old Bull and Bush' to more modern pieces and also classical music can be found in their repertoire.  They were very honoured to be invited to perform at the Handbell Ringers of Great Britian National Rally.  Only eight groups actually were asked.  They were scared to death.


They have had some unusual situations too.  They played for a wedding at the Chartered Institute of Marketing at Moor Hall where they were the only music.  In 1997 they were invited to play at the opening of a new Glaxo building in Greenford, where they played from the balcony.  The building was so large the sound became a bit drowned.  They took part in the Cookham Twinning Celebrations at Moor Hall in 1994 and were asked to play at a special BMW launch at the Bell at Aston Clinton. 


If you would like to know more talk to Jean Turner 484270

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