New hand bells for musical High Peak school pupils

Furness Vale Primary School
Furness Vale Primary School

The hills are alive with the sound of bells ringing as High Peak youngsters have been learning to use an unusual musical instrument.

The children at Furness Vale Primary School were keen to show off their musical talents to Whaley Bridge’s Councillor David Lomax when he visited recently.

He attended the school to present a set of hand bells to the children after hearing them play back in December at Furness Vale’s Christmas tree lighting.

Councillor Lomax was so impressed by the children’s performance that when he heard the school’s hand bells were only on loan and due to be returned he kindly offered to buy them their own set of bells out of his Member Community Leadership Fund.

Teaching assistant Christine Harding, who has a particular interest in music, brought hand bell ringing to the school after she went on a training course in it, believing it was something that would get the children into music.

Staff and children throughout the school have now taken it up with ease.

She said: “The children have been playing since September.

“All the children have started to play right from the small ones to year six.

“It’s something that’s easy for everyone to have a go at - you don’t have to read music.”

With guidance from Tamandra Ford, north west leader of music development for the Derbyshire Music Education Hub, each class now has the opportunity to play bells together.

Students learn to play the bells using a simple numbers system, making it easy to understand. They can then progress to sheet music as they get more advanced.

Christine said Councillor Lomax was very complimentary when he heard the youngsters playing and funded 32 bells. The school then funded a further eight, bringing the total number of instruments to 40.

The children will be performing alongside other schools from across the area at the New Mills Art Theatre in June, when they will have the opportunity to show off their talents in front of a crowd of hundreds.