Music and fair trade at St Thomas

Two choirs will sing music including Vaughan Williams’ Mass in G Minor at a concert at St Thomas Church, Heptonstall during the annual Fair Trade weekend.

The Halifax Chamber Choir and Leeds Guild of Singers will also perform music by Ravel, Mauersberger and others on Saturday, November 15 at 8pm. Tickets will cost £8 on the door (concessions £6).

The Fair Trade event will open on Friday, November 14, and run until Sunday, November 16. A wide variety of Traidcraft goods will be available including toys, food, Christmas cards and much more.

Bellringing attempt on Saturday 4 October

Bellringer at St Thomas’ church, Heptonstall will attempt to ring 10,000 changes on the bells on Saturday 4 October 2014 in an attempt to set a new record.

A team of 8 ringers will be aiming to ring a peal of over 10,000 changes, which will involve approximately 6 hours’ continuous ringing.

Vicar Howard Pask said: “Over the years, our bells have regularly been rung for 3 hour peals (5,000 changes) and I have often received favourable comments from parishioners about these performances. The last 3-hour peal was in early August and the next one will be not be until mid-November, as we felt that we should leave an extended interval before and after the record attempt on 4 October.

“I used the word ‘attempt’ and, for the ringers, this is the key to the challenge they have set themselves. For this peal to be accepted as a record by the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers it needs to meet a number of important criteria and success is by no means guaranteed.

“The ringers obviously have to be able to rise to the physical challenge of ringing the bells continuously for six hours, but they have also to be able to execute the pattern of changes (or ‘method’ as it is known) throughout that period, to ensure that the 10,000 changes are rung correctly, with the 8 bells ringing in a different order each time.”

To ensure the correctness of the ringing, a team of umpires will be present, taking turns to observe and check the ringing within the bell tower throughout the performance. If successful, the peal on 4 October will not be the first record to be established on the bells of St Thomas’.

Back in 1927, the longest peal in the method known as Oxford Treble Bob Major was rung on our bells: 17,824 changes, which took 10 hours 51 minutes to complete. This achievement is recorded on a tablet inside the bell tower. The following year, 1928, saw a similar team of ringers return to St Thomas’ to attempt an even longer peal, 22,096 changes, but this unfortunately came to grief, apparently through physical exhaustion, after 10 and a half hours.

The method to be rung on 4 October is “Heptonstall Delight Major”. This was first rung, at St Thomas’, in 2001, but to date the only peals have been of the ‘standard’ length of 5,000 changes. The attempt on 4 October is scheduled to begin at 12 noon and, if all goes well, should be completed shortly after 6pm. The ringing will be dedicated to the memory of Colin Ashworth, in appreciation of his dedication to the care and maintenance of the bells of St Thomas’ for over 50 years.

If you have any queries at all, please contact Rev Howard Pask, Vicar of Hebden Bridge and Heptonstall.

Sunday School

St Thomas’ Church has a new Sunday School run by retired teacher Val Perry, who organised a successful crib service before Christmas.

Children aged four to 11 are welcome to attend the class, which starts at 9.15am. They hear stories and take part in activities at the back of the church, before joining the rest of the congregation for a blessing at the end of the service.

This week, the children heard about Jesus healing the lepers, then drew pictures about being thankful for our blessings.

The class will be held every Sunday except the first Sunday in each month, which is an all-age service suitable for children.

If anyone would like to get involved in helping to run the class, they are welcome to get in touch with vicar Howard Pask.

Heptonstall School Fair

pfa school poster

This weekend is a busy one in Heptonstall. On Saturday, Christmas trees will be on sale in Weavers’ Square from 3pm, with all proceeds to the Heptonstall Lights and Planting Group.

Hebden Bridge Brass Band will play from 5.30pm for the switch-on of the Christmas tree lights. At 6pm they will move into the White Lion, where pie and peas will be served.

On Sunday, Heptonstall School’s Christmas fair runs from 2pm to 4pm in the school hall, with attractions including Santa’s grotto, games for the children, face painting and many other stalls.

Further ahead, Christmas events include:

Sunday, 15 December, 3pm, Christingle Service at St Thomas’.

Sunday, 15 December, time tbc, a concert of Klezmer music at the White Lion.

Sunday, 22 December, 10.45am, Nativity Service in the Methodist Chapel. Children from the village and school are invited to take part in this enjoyable event. We also need a baby to play Jesus – contact Margaret Coupe on 01422 842550 if you want to put your baby on the road to stardom.

Sunday 22 December 6.30pm, Village Carol Service at St Thomas.

Wednesday, 25 December, 9.30am, Joint Christmas Day Service at the Methodist Chapel.


Bell-ringing at St Thomas’ Church

Refurbished bells

The recently refurbished bells back in place in the belfry

As most residents will be aware, St Thomas’ church possesses a fine ring of 8 bells, which were originally installed in 1912 and were fully refurbished in 2012. They are rung regularly for Sunday service (at least once a month), for practice/training of new ringers (most Tuesday evenings), full peals (once a month) and by visiting ringers from various parts of the country (occasional).

We are always looking for new ringers and currently rely on help from ringers from other churches in the area. As many will be aware, our oldest ringer and tower captain for over 50 years, Colin Ashworth, passed away in October last year and we have in recent years also lost two other longstanding members, Nick Helliwell and Geoff Cheetham. To ensure that the bells continue to ring out into the future, we do now need more local people to come forward and join us. Anyone who would like to learn more about bell-ringing and may be interested in becoming a member of our team, please feel free to contact me for further information (details below).  Two new recruits have joined us recently and both are making good progress towards becoming full members of the team.

We are also very keen to keep residents informed about our ringing activities and, whilst the feedback we receive is overwhelmingly positive, we do recognise that not everyone likes the sound of the bells and in, particular, that some people would appreciate advance notice of any prolonged periods of ringing, such as the monthly peals, which last for approx. 3 hours at a time. These are already publicised on the weekly notice of church services and activities in the church porch, but in an attempt to reach a wider audience we are happy to respond to a suggestion from a resident and also publish details on this website.

The ringing planned over the next three months is as follows:

Sunday mornings (10.30-11.30): 7 September, 26 October, 23 November 2014

Tuesday practices (19.45-21.00) : most Tuesdays

Peals (approx. 3 hours’ continuous ringing):  Saturday 15 November 2:45pm (visiting team from Sheffield)

On Saturday 4 October we will be attempting a ‘double peal’, which will involve approx. 6 hour’s continuous ringing, commencing at 12 noon. To ensure that all residents are informed about this, we will be delivering leaflets with further details throughout the village w/c 29 September.  No peal attempt is scheduled for September, which means that there will be no extended periods of ringing for 8 weeks before and 6 weeks after the double peal.

A further update will be provided in November.

Many thanks for your support……and look forward to hearing from you!

George Campling

Ringing Master, St Thomas’ church