A set of handbells that has been ringing the tunes for over a century can still be heard each week as Ockbrook School’s Handbell Ringers Club makes music during lunch break.
The lunchtime club uses the very same handbells that Mrs Charlotte Mable Nelson, a past music teacher at the independent school in Ockbrook, used in the 1920s when she set up the very first handbell ringers club at the school. The bells are thought to have been used in lessons as early as 1914.
Tom Brooksby, Headmaster, Ockbrook School, says: “We take great pride in the diverse extracurricular activities that we offer at the school and we like to celebrate all facets of the school community. The Handbell Ringers Club has been putting smiles on the faces of countless generations of pupils at the school and I was astonished to discover that the bells they use are over 100 years old – and by the sound of them, still going strong!
The club is now overseen at the school by Mrs Coggle, Head of Boarding. Pupils meet each Thursday lunchtime to practice. Fourteen year old Hanna Bricklebank in Year 10 says: “We have a lot of fun learning to ring the bells and it’s very social. But there’s also a serious side to it and we’re hoping to play our first public recital this year’s Ockbrook School Winter Fayre. I’m surprised that the bells are so old – it’s amazing to think of the changes they’ve seen over the years!”
Eden Martin and Elise Connor in Year 10 and both 14 agreed: “We love playing the bells and we love the connection with the history of the school.”