100 year old handbells : Judy Vale

An interview with Judy Vale

Burbage hand bell team at Haddon Hall

Ever wondered what the attraction of handbell ringing is? Well, Judy Vale gives Fun with Bells Podcast host, Cathy Both, a whole raft of reasons to take up this absorbing and musical hobby.

Handbells are part of our history and tradition, you can take your handbells out to places like care homes and stately homes and really connect with your audience . You don’t need to be able to read music to play a tune.

And just like tower bell ringing, Judy explains, handbell ringing is a team endeavour, needs commitment and a great deal of technique. There is also cake involved.

What do you do if you want bells at a wedding in a church that doesn’t have a tower? Just bring your own.

Finally, you can forget about freezing cold church towers in the middle of winter, one of the perks of handbell ringing that Judy reveals is the pleasure of ringing in a medieval banqueting hall of a stately home with a roaring fire.

About Judy Vale

Judy has been ringing handbells for over 45 years and has trained many ringers to the art of handbell ringing.


Top five takeaways

  • Learning to ring handbells is like learning to ring tower bells. You start off with learning technique and then move onto simple tunes.
  • You can find a handbell group near from the Handbell Ringers of Great Britain
  • A set of handbells is a bit like a piano – if you get any of them repaired, you’ll need to get them tuned to fit in with the rest of your bells.
  • Good handbell ringing, like good striking, takes practice and commitment
  • When planning to ring outside always remember to have some cover in case it rains!

Ask the Expert

Pip Penney answered the following question in this episode:

  • Jessica: “What does ‘Don’t drop your backstrokes!’ mean, and what do you want the recipient, of this instruction, to do differently?”

2 thoughts on “100 year old handbells : Judy Vale

  1. Anonymous says:

    Not good at tech. Toni williams, a bell ringer moved to chapel en le froth. Read paper that burn age handbell ringers need extra hands.

  2. The Fun with Bells podcast says:

    Hi Toni, I have passed on your full message to Judy Vale.

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