The Inn Ringers are a group of handbell ringers who originally came together in 1977 practising in a room above the Red Lion in the High Street, Stone. Back then, most of the people in the team lived in Stone, today it’s a different story – they now base themselves at St Luke’s Church Hall in Tittensor and no members of the team live in Stone.
Musical Director Paul Mellor (originally from Stone) says ‘I have no idea how it came about that all our Stone ringers moved on. We are in a situation now where we need to recruit some new ringers so we can safeguard the future of the team’.
Paul goes on to say ‘like so many traditional art forms and past times, bell ringing is out of favour – people have busy lives and don’t like the long-term commitment. I get that, but it is sad to hear about handbell teams disbanding or struggling to get people to join their ranks to make practise nights worthwhile’.
Over the last 43 years they have performed with their 116 handbells in concerts in many parts of the country, highlights being a performance at the Barbican in London and playing at the Victoria Hall in Hanley. The team have recorded three albums and made numerous TV appearances. They do an annual charity concert and a Christmas concert every year, these are the dates in their calendar they most look forward to.
Paul says ‘Getting new members is a difficult task, without some new recruits the Inn Ringers will be forced to pack away their bells for good. We have to try to keep our traditional activities going – once we lose them, they will be gone for good’.
All you need to a member of the Inn Ringers is commitment, enthusiasm, a sense of humour and a sense of rhythm. You don’t even have to be able to read music – the Inn Ringers have their own music notation that can be picked up in minutes. The commitment is attending a weekly practise (Monday evenings at St. Luke’s Church Hall in Tittensor) and honouring the concert bookings we get. The team often get together socially and generally enjoy the camaraderie of being part of a team. It is great hobby to become involved with.
If you are interested in joining the team or if you would like to pop along to a practise night to find out what it’s all about – contact the team secretary Rowena Dawson on 07816 545713 or email firstname.lastname@example.org