Posted by Stella Gooch
Photos by Stella Gooch
Newly trained bell ringers attending Heacham in Bloom Garden Party
Heacham in Bloom’s fundraising garden party event was treated to some of the hottest weather we have seen this year. It brought out hordes of visitors to support this worthy cause. Despite us all wilting under such high temperatures Christine Dean’s Hand Bells team (comprising very young children aged 5, 6 and 7 as well as three volunteer paremts) entertained us with such delightful sounds as our villsge tune “Pocahontas Colours of the Wind”, “When You Wish Upon a Star”, “Memories”, the Olypmic theme “Chariots of Fire” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.
Christine informed me that the 35 ancient hand bells used for the concert are all from St Mary’s Church, Snettisham. They were given to the church when the tower bells were originally installed by Mears Foundry at Whhitechapel London. More bells from the Loughborough Taylors Foundry were later added some 80 years ago given by the choirmaster, Mr Gromit, and another family who were the owners of a Snettisham jeweller shop. More recently, three other large bells were kindly donated by Mrs Joanne Norwood (a former Heacham resident) and the Hunstanton Round Table.
Since 2002, Christine has taken the bells and music to many different groups who have performed at local charity musical events, coffee mornings and special church services and school assemblies for Mothers Day and numerous other occasions.
Since 2006, many children at Heacham Infants School, Snettisham and Ingoldisthorpe Primary Schools have taken the opportunity to learn to play all kinds of popular fun songs at their voluntary lunchtime hand bells clubs. The bells are also enjoyed and played occasionally by several other Norfolk retirement groups and care homes and visits to children’s youth groups such as Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Beavers, Messy Cathedral family events in Norwich and Ely as well as St Raphael Club in Kings Lynn and many other groups.
As Christine said, “Hand bells are very accessible and inclusive to everyone of all ages or nationality from age 3 to 103. It is always popular because it is instantly very easy.” Some of us adults – including myself – had a go at the bell ringing ourselves under the enthusiastic guidance of Christine Dean to prove the point. I was surprised at how quickly we all got the hang of it and we soon rang out a clear rendition of “Speed Bonny boat like a bird on the wing over the sea to Skye!” and some others that were perhaps not quite so recognisable (even to me!).
Christine Dean’s bell ringing troupe in full flow at Heacham in Bloom Garden Party
Also on the entertainment bill was our very own local poet, Doreen Reed. We were all very happy to relax in the shade and listen to Doreen’s topical witty rhymes as the heat bore down mercilessly. Some of us present had enjoyed Doreen’s style of humorous entertainment the previous Thursday at Hunstanton Town Hall when Doreen took part in the Hunstanton & District Festival of Arts.
The hard work put in by the Heacham in Bloom team and their supporters to create such an enjoyable afternoon was clear to see and the garden itself was as wonderful as ever. The tea and cake was sumptious and included yummy and generous slices of Lemon Meringue Pie, Carrot Cake and Toffee Caramel Cake. The tombola was pretty varied – I ought to know as my sons seem to have come home with quite a lot of it – and there was the traditional raffle with some generous donations from local businesses. In all Heacham in Bloom raised just over £400 to help improve the floral plantings for Heacham in Bloom 2014.
Well done to the team and many thanks for Rob and Gel for being such welcoming hosts.