Handbell ringers staged an ‘a-pealing’ afternoon of Christmas carols at a Salisbury care home, encouraging residents to join in.
Colten Care’s Braemar Lodge welcomed eight members of Fordingbridge Handbell Ringers playing a tuned set of 16 bells – some cast as far back as 1894 – under the direction of conductor Isabel Brown.
Each ringer read from their own musical score and wore gloves to avoid their fingers tarnishing the metal.
Residents at the Stratford Road home were invited to participate in some of the tunes by ringing colour-coded chimes when signalled.
Among the Yuletide melodies were Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Little Town of Bethlehem, While Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night and, of course, Jingle Bells.
Resident Dora Williams, who is celebrating her first year at Braemar Lodge, said: “We joined in, we sang a little, we listened and we played. It was a very well balanced programme. The musicians were really super, perhaps the best group we have had here. It was excellent, so professional.”
Braemar Lodge Companionship Team Member Sylvie Rodulson said: “This was a lovely interactive experience for our residents. The sound of the bells was truly enchanting and has put us all in a Christmassy mood.”
The bells belong to St. Mary’s Church in Fordingbridge. To keep them in pristine condition, they have to be periodically overhauled and tuned by campanology experts at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London.
The foundry, Britain’s oldest manufacturing company, was established in 1570 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. It was where both Big Ben and the American Liberty Bell were cast.