The organist entertains - for 50 years

Donald Haigh has been the organist at St Mary's Church,  Elland for 50 years.
Donald Haigh has been the organist at St Mary's Church, Elland for 50 years.

A special service will take place to celebrate Donald Haigh’s 50 years as the organist at St Mary’s Church, Elland.

Donald has been a member of the church for 70 years, first singing in the choir before taking over as organist from his father, who had previously played the church organ for 24 years.

Donald’s wife Joyce is choir mistress at the church, his elder daughter, Rebecca has sung in the choir for over 40 years, his younger daughter Margaret sang in the choir for 14 years before she married and moved away, while Lucy, Donald’s granddaughter, has been a choir member for four years.

Donald plays each Sunday morning for the main service and also helps out at other local churches when their organist is not available.

In his career he has played the organ at a number of cathedrals and at many other churches throughout the country.

Fr. David Burrows, Rector of Elland and Rural Dean, said: “Donald’s dedication and musical ability over the years has provided strong musical support to our weekly services at St Mary’s.

“The contribution that he makes, together with Joyce, his wife, who has looked after the choir for many years, has been very much appreciated by congregations past and present.

“They have been so important in continuing the classic Anglican choral tradition at St Mary’s.

The church is also launching an organ appeal fund on the same day to raise money to keep the organ in good condition.

The organ was originally built between 1872 and 1893 by Alexander Young of Manchester.

Any donations should be sent to Peter Uttley, Churchwarden/Treasurer at 80 Victoria Road, Elland, HX5 0QF.