‘Singing for Syrians’ concert, 14 December 17

On Thursday 14 December, Gospel Bell played a concert in aid of ‘Singing for Syrians’ at St Mary’s Parish Church, Adderbury, Oxfordshire. An enthusiastic audience turned out for this charity fund-raising event in support of Syrian refugees. Guest speaker Victoria Prentis MP (pictured below and seated in the centre) hosted the Parliamentary launch of this charitable initiative on 5th July 2016 and Victoria explained that all of the funds raised are used to pay the salaries of medical staff working in areas such as war-torn Oleppo and to provide them with medical supplies and resources.

Gospel Bell sings for Syrians

The band were really pleased to discover that one of several representatives attending the event from the Syrian refugee community in the UK had brought his bass guitar with him. He had previously played double bass with a leading orchestra in Syria and so he slotted right in playing lovely bass melody lines. He is pictured with his wife (who celebrated her birthday with us) and (left to right) Sean, Richard and Troy  – together we were an awesome rhythm section!

We’d like to thank Jean and Stephen Fletcher for hosting and organizing the event at St Mary’s, the representatives from the Syrian community in High Wycombe, Victoria Prentis and all who attended a moving and enjoyable celebration of the positive work that ‘Singing for Syrians’ is doing in the aftermath of terrible loss. We felt privileged to play for such a good cause.



Adderbury Christmas Tree Festival, 09 December 17

Gospel Bell played at the Adderbury Christmas Tree Festival (CTF) organized by St Mary’s, Adderbury on Saturday 09 December. We played an hour-long set to a throng of Festival-goers from 2-3pm. The band were especially encouraged to see quite a number of small children happily jiving away in the aisles and it is heartening to know that the old Gospel songs that we play appeal to all age groups. While we were setting-up, a St Mary’s regular (Ray) came over to say that he’d heard us play in the church on three previous occasions and that he really loves the songs we play – we felt so encouraged! Adderbury’s annual CTF raises around £4,000 for good causes and to assist with on-going restoration work at St Mary’s and it is a joy to play in such a beautiful building. We’d like to thank Emily Reed and Stephen Fletcher, Vicar of St Mary’s for inviting us to play.

(Left to right) Toni, Rachel, Donald, Sean and David

On Thursday 14 December at 7.30pm, Gospel Bell is playing a concert in aid of ‘Singing for Syrians’ in the same venue – St Mary’s Parish Church, Adderbury, Oxfordshire OX17 3LP. This is a charity fund-raising event for Syrian refugees, with guest speaker contributions from the Syrian community in the UK and Victoria Prentis MP. If you are able to join us in support of those who have been affected by long-term conflict in Syria, please come along – the Season of Advent is a time to reflect and share our heart with a hurting world.

Bloxham Christmas Tree Festival, 03 December 17

At the invitation of Amnesty International (Banbury branch) Gospel Bell played at the Bloxham Christmas Tree Festival (CTF) hosted by St Mary’s, Bloxham, on Sunday 03 December. We played an hour-long set from 4-5pm to an appreciative audience of Festival-goers. The Church looked truly beautiful (we are posing in front of several trees in the photo below) and we’d like to thank Ian Myson and Lesley Mills for the invitation and Dale Gingrich, Vicar of St Mary’s and his team for the opportunity to participate – we really enjoyed the session.

Lesley Mills on behalf of Amnesty International (Banbury branch) writes: A huge thank you to Gospel Bell for your support in making our Christmas Tree Festival at St. Mary’s Church, Bloxham, such a success!! Thank you for the time you all gave up to support our fund-raising event and for sharing your Gospel songs which we loved. 

Barn dance, Tudor Hall Banbury, 12 November 17

On Sunday afternoon, 12 November, The Silver Bough played for more than 100 young people (see below) at a Ceilidh or barn dance held at Tudor Hall School, Banbury. Everyone danced for hours and we all enjoyed a lovely meal and conversation during the break.

The Silver Bough band perform music, dance, song and story-telling. We love working with past and present traditions and we value diversity and difference: from Ceilidhs for children, teenagers and church events to weddings, special occasions and for the elderly, those in residential care or attending day care centres. We provide everything needed for a joyful event – caller, band and PA system and we play a variety of dance styles to suit all occasions. For contact information, see the ‘Dance’ page.

Harvest Festival afternoon tea at Deddington Parish Church, 8 October 17

Gospel Bell is it seems, a popular choice for afternoon tea socials! On Sunday 8 October, we played from 3-5pm in Deddington’s beautiful church and most people stayed throughout – enjoying the tea, cake and occasionally singing along with us. A group of bikers joined us during the first set – probably because they saw the afternoon tea sign outside – they sat at the nearest table and thanked us for the music as they left. Our thanks to Heather and her team for organizing the event – the afternoon raised £104.00 for the church repair fund.

The Gospel Bell afternoon tea band!

Barn dance, Broadway United Reformed Church, 6 October 17

On Friday 6 October, Silver Bough facilitated the annual barn dance for the United Reformed Church, Broadway in the beautiful Lifford Hall. For the first time, the evening consisted of a fusion of Ceilidh or barn dancing and Morris dancing – it worked – everyone happily did both! The band also sang a few of the songs from the Gospel Bell repertoire so that the exhausted dancers could get there breath back. A truly  joyful evening.

Barn dancing at Lifford Hall, Broadway

Evening Worship at Deddington Parish Church, 10 September 17

As we gathered in a semi-circle for an informal evening service at St Peter and St Paul, Deddington at 5.30pm, the fading light created a lovely atmosphere for an order of service that celebrated the fact that Christ is the light of the world. We read from Romans 13: 8-14 and celebrated in song and in our prayers that love never fails. We should like to thanks Revd Annie Goldthorp and church administrator Judy Ward for inviting us to play at the service and as always, for a warm welcome. May the light and peace of Christ be with you.

Concert at Holy Trinity Sibford, 03 September 17

At 4pm on a damp Sunday 3rd September, Gospel Bell played an hour-long afternoon tea concert and fund-raiser at Holy Trinity Sibford, one of six churches in the Wykeham benefice (Broughton, Epwell, Shutford, Sibford, Swalcliffe, Tadmarton) led by team Rector Ronald Hawkes. The advert in the Sibford news said: GB is an Oxfordshire-based folk club with a difference, they will provide lovely music but also something a ‘bit spiritual’ and thought-provoking. We felt warmly welcomed by an audience of around 60 people, most of whom sang along with the words in our newly produced chorus sheet. Afterwards, over copious supplies of tea and cake, several of the audience said that we hadn’t sung their favourite song, so we’ll introduce a request slot for our next concert-style event. We are delighted that the event raised a generous sum for charity: Revd Ronald Hawkes writes: ‘I have just donated £125 online to Christian Aid who are working with local partners to help alleviate the impact of the South East Asia floods in India and Bangladesh.  With gift aid, this is worth just over £156. Hurrah! Thank you Gospel Bell for such a splendid afternoon.’

Above let to right: David, Sean, Susie, David, John, Troy, Richard, Toni, Donald, Rachel and Jay

Deddington Parish Church, 27 August 17

On Sunday 27th August 2017, Gospel Bell provided music and singing in support of the morning Eucharist service the Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul, Deddington. Vicar Annie Goldthorp incorporated reflection and discussion about the personhood of Jesus (Matthew 16: 13-20) to encourage re-examination of the mission of Jesus. Pictured below: front row left to right: David, Susie, Sean, Donald; back row left to right: Toni, Paula, Annie and Judy.



St Leonard’s Church, 30 July 17

St Leonard’s is one of a group of five Church of England parishes within Banbury, situated in the Grimsbury area of the town. The style of worship is traditional with periodic more informal music and GB played at the Eucharist service at 10am on Sunday 30th July 2017.  We played prior to, during and after the service and members of the congregation sang with us and some even joined us on percussion when we played during refreshments. Vicar Sue Burchell said: ‘Thank you for providing some brilliant music … I enjoyed it very much.’