About the Club

The Handbell Club is run by Tina Stoecklin, who is Secretary of the Scottish Association of Change Ringers, and a handbell ringer for over 25 years.  She is assisted by Simon Gay, and by several students in the school, who have come through the Club.  Tina and Simon also, from time to time, teach handbell ringing to adults.  If you are interested in learning change ringing on handbells, please contact us at tina@handbellringing.co.uk

The story of the Mount Vernon Handbell Club was published in The Ringing World of July 20, 2012 (issue 5282).  You can order a copy of that issue via The Ringing World website at www.ringingworld.co.uk.  The text of the article is reproduced in the sections that follow.

Handbell Ringing in Primary Schools

It is the end of February.  Six 8-year old children sit in a curve and ring rounds on 12 in a good rhythm, and the boy on the tenors calls ‘that’s all’.  Then there is a demonstration of Plain Hunt on 4 ‘without the music’.  The Headteacher is ecstatic.  We are amazed.  There is a band of handbell ringers at Mount Vernon Primary School in Glasgow.

About three months earlier I had made a throwaway comment about teaching handbells, and the Headteacher called my bluff, asking ‘how many pupils can you take and when can you start’?  Really, I had no idea.  The answer turned out to be ‘about 10’ and ‘soon’.  My husband, Simon Gay, agreed to take some time off work to participate in the experiment.

Simon, our son Thomas, and I launched the project with a ringing demonstration at the school assembly, followed shortly afterwards by a performance, with our regular handbell band, at a fundraising activity at the school.   We offered parents and children chances to ‘have a go’ at ringing rounds.  (I shan’t quickly forget the sight of Angela Deakin trying desperately to complete a demonstration course while three boys practically climbed into her lap with curiosity). This was tremendous fun, and we were heartened at how quickly the children got to grips with the rhythm and timing of ringing a pair of handbells.

In the signup that followed, 17 pupils expressed an interest, which was far more than we could manage as a single group! Rather than leave anybody out, we agreed to split them into two groups, and do a four-week taster session block for each group, a total of 8 sessions for an hour after school each week.  It was also the first experiment by the school in operating a parent-led ‘mini club’, which they were trialling to try and increase opportunities for the children and get more parent involvement.