‘The Bells of St Mary’s’ handbell ringers are continuing a tradition in Olveston which first started in 1969. At that time it was found necessary to have the bells recast and, together with four additional bells, these were dedicated by Canon Mannox in 1973. The team then joined the Handbell Ringers of Great Britain and officially became St Mary’s (Olveston) Handbell Ringers Team No. 146. This continued for several years but gradually it became difficult to retain enough ringers to provide a full team for the six positions required, and the bells were used very infrequently.

Then , after successfully taking part in the 1999 Annual Carol Service with a lot of new recruits, the Ringers decided to continue under the direction of Mrs Jean Fooks as ‘The Bells of St Mary’s’. A new logo was designed by Rosemary Wilson, a banner made by Izzy Phillips, and through that millennium year and the following year a number of new bells were donated or purchased. The bells were rung on many occasions including the Harvest Supper, carol services, and at various venues such as retirement homes or church halls. In 2002 a special concert was presented to mark the Queen’s Jubilee. Then in 2003 and 2004 concert performances were given, some of the proceeds being donated to charity, and ringing took place at five other venues.

The ringers meet on Saturday mornings from 9.30-10.45am in the church, and anyone is welcome to come and sit and listen or join in as a trial. This enthusiastic group has around twenty four members at present, ranging in age from nine to seventy plus, but we would still enjoy having some new blood. You do not need to be able to read music (in fact this is sometimes a disadvantage!) so if you feel like having a go just turn up or ring 01454 614072 or 01454 201044.