Colne organist retires after 25 years of service

Colne Chirst Church, where Jack was the organist for 25 years.
Colne Chirst Church, where Jack was the organist for 25 years.

After more than two decades spent entertaining countless congregations, a fleet-fingered Colne organist has retired, playing at his final service on April 16th.

Having dedicated a quarter of a century to being the lead organist at Christ Church on Keighley Road, Jack Leeming (87) admitted that the change will “take a bit of getting used to,” but insists that he will still play for his own personal pleasure and that now was the right time to call it a day.

“When you’re getting on in years, it’s time to slow down,” Jack said. “I’m bound to miss it, but I’d rather give up while I was still capable.”

Over the years, Jack, who was born in Colne and who became the church’s lead organist after retiring from the family joinery business - Joseph H. Leeming & Son - in his late fifties after a heart attack, has become an indellible part the church community.

Originally the deputy organist, then organist and choir master, before becoming the lead organist, Jack said: “I enjoy the old fashioned hymns; I’ve played at so many different churches and chapels.”

Also a keen chorister, Jack also spent 25 years as a member of the Colne Orpheus Male Voice Choir, with his singing originally leading him to taking an interest in piano lessons and then playing the organ.

“I was a choir boy at St.Bartholomew’s Colne Parish Church,” he explained. “I then started piano and then organ lessons when I was 17.

“It’s been a very enjoyable career,” Jack added. “I’ve met some lovely people and made some excellent friends in all of the churches.

“I’ll take away a lot of very happy memories.”