A bellringer who brought good chimes back to Liss has been given a ringing endorsement by villagers.

Racheal Barber has been named Liss Villager of the Year 2024 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to bellringing in the East Hampshire community.

She picked up the title and trophy at the Annual Parish Meeting with her colleagues at St Mary’s playing a major part in her winning nomination.

Rachael has been selfless in victory and feels the title should be shared with her merry band of bellringers.

But she’s arguably played the biggest role in getting villagers of all ages on the ropes, as numbers have grown considerably since she restarted the bellringing group in 2021.

She said: “Bellringers are often stuck in a church tower and they’re not seen by an awful lot of people, so they don’t tend to get that much recognition.

“So it’s really nice for the work of the bellringers to be noticed. I know this award is for me, but there’s a lot of work behind the scenes that people are unaware of, like the people who teach and look after bellringers.

“There are people who spend huge amounts of time teaching and supporting and without people like us the bells wouldn’t be ringing.”

Rachael, who has been involved with the Alton & District Bellringers for several years, offered a hand to Joy Martin after the former tower captain at St Mary’s became unable to train more ringers. Villagers responded positively to a Facebook advert and now the “very social” group are able to ring “almost anything”.

The best of Liss was showcased at the meeting with commendations going to Gill & Bob Elmer for their tireless fundraising in aid of the Rosemary Foundation and Brenda Eves for planting outside the Triangle Centre.

Liss Band Commendation
The Liss Band, who performed at the Annual Parish Meeting, were also presented with a commendation in recognition of their 50th anniversary and outstanding contribution to Liss. (Liss Parish Council)

Chris Pashby-Taylor received the same for her services to Liss Forest and its residents association while Christopher Dowty and Trish Stemp were lauded for their voluntary work around the village.

A pair of Liss Parish Council stalwarts also received a commendation for their long service with former chairmen Howard Linsley and Roger Hargreaves both getting a worthy nomination. The former, who sat on LPC for more than a quarter of a century, used his acceptance speech to encourage more villagers to get involved in the parish council, calling the role “rewarding and fulfilling”.

Former parish councillors Liane McDonald and Richard Baker also received commendations for their services to LPC while Kitti Krizsan and Nigel Perryman were also recognised for their gardening prowess. Kitti was congratulated for transforming Plot 14A Lower Green in a short period while the latter was thanked for making improvements at the same site.

Finally, one of the biggest cheers of the night went to the Liss Band as they were awarded a special commendation to mark their upcoming 50th anniversary. The band, which first played in 1974, received the accolade for their outstanding contribution to Liss and also performed during the well-attended ceremony in the village hall.