Our group was founded in 2003 by the late Doug Crooks, who was Tower Captain at St Mary's Church, Halesworth. He was keen to start a local handbell ringing team and asked Bel Rivers, our team leader, to teach them. The new team started to ring using the twelve handbells that Doug had discovered tucked away in the vestry.  They quickly made progress and began to play at various functions and local events. A concert was arranged and the proceeds were used to pay for the handbells to be repaired and refurbished.

In 2005, we were fortunate enough to receive funding from the Awards for All division of the National Lottery, which enabled us to purchase our own set of bells. The old bells were returned and we became independent of the church. We decided to keep the team name because of the support we had from their congregation.

Our musical repertoire is varied and diverse, from more traditional pieces, such as English Country Garden and Ode to Joy, to Puttin' on the Ritz and Moon River.

We meet on Tuesday evenings, normally in St Mary's Church Hall, to practice and learn new music, as well as have a bit of a giggle. We are always happy to welcome new members, please do contact us if you are interested in joining us or if you would like to book us.

  Our bells were by made by world-renowned bell foundry Malmark, in America, and consist of a chromatic two-octave set running from G4 to G6. In 2007, we invested in the G#6 and A6 bells, and in 2009, the B6 and C6 bells, (which are quite small), taking the top octave of the bells a little further.

The bells are made of bronze and polished to a jeweller's finish. They are not lacquered as this would diminish the musical quality of the bells. When ringing, gloves are worn to protect the bells from acids and salts from the skin causing stains and tarnishing.

Ringing Technique

There are techniques that can produce different sound effects such as "thumb damping", where the ringer's thumb is placed on the bell's surface causing the sound to be cut short (very similar to a violinist plucking a string i.e. pizzicato). We also use special mallets sometimes to tap the bells, which again creates a different sound.

The music we use is a number-based system, where each bell has an allocated number and a grid system on paper represents the bars of music.

Bell ringing is simple, great fun and doesn't need a musical knowledge to get started.