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Press and News - 25th September 2011

Howard Sheppard retires as organist at 93


Howard - organist at St Mary's for the last 20 years retires at 93. Receiving his present, a framed picture of all seven benefice churches.

The benefice service at St Mary's church Lidgate, 25th September marked a very special occasion, Howard Sheppard's final service as organist - a post he has held at Lidgate for over 20 years. For the service, which was also "Back to Church Sunday", Howard chose both the hymns and the music for the service. The Bansfield Benefice choir also sang two anthems during the service, the second at the end of the service which gave the whole occasion a profound poignancy. During the service Howard was presented with a framed picture containing all seven churches of the benefice and cards from well-wishers both from the Bansfield Benefice and parishioners of his previous church in Lancashire from over 20 years ago. The Rector, Revd Stephen Abbott, after a short speech made the presentation to Howard who in turn gave a very enjoyable address. Howard concluded by quoting the words from an Abba song "Thank you for the Music". The words of which were so appropriate for the occasion and Howard returned to the organ in readiness for the final hymn to heart-felt applause.

After the service a reception was held at the back of church to honour the occasion which gave people chance to thank Howard for his great work as an organist over the years.

Thank you Howard!


Howard - playing the organ at St Mary's for the last occasion before retiring.


Howard - enjoying the delights of playing a Wurlitzer organ.

Howard's reply

In the Pew leaflet - 9th October

"I wish to thank the Rector, the ladies of Lidgate Church and friends in the Benefice for the lovely service, presentation and cards of good wishes at my retirement service. Also to the Benefice Choir, whose singing brought back memories of my choir in Lancashire, and especially Anne, who made a 10 year old boy's dream of playing a Wurlitzer Organ come true, 83 years later. Thank you all."

The story was also covered by The Newmarket Journal.

Last Modified Friday 02 March 2018