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.
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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.”