Tributes to 'gentleman' choir member and former RAF pilot

A remarkable long-serving choir member and former RAF wartime pilot, Mr Graham Hyslop, has died just a few weeks short of his 100th birthday.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 12:22 pm
Updated Monday, 17th May 2021, 12:24 pm
Mr Hyslop pictured two years ago with his scrapbook from his days in the RAF

Mr Hyslop, of Sycamore Rise, Foulridge, was due to celebrate his landmark birthday on June 28th at Sycamore Rise Residential Care Home, Colne, where he had been a resident for more than a year.

Members of Colne Orpheus Glee Union male voice choir were due to be among the mourners at his funeral service today (Friday May 21st) at Burnley United Reformed Church.

A proud Scot, Mr Hyslop was born in 1921 in Dumbarton, the son of a church minister, and was educated at Glasgow Academy. His family was made homeless when the Manse was bombed during the 1941 Luftwaffe raids on the Clydebank shipyards.

Soon after leaving college, he joined the RAF and after training to be a pilot in the USA and Canada he served at air bases in England and Scotland, flying new aircraft from the factories to airbases, and training new pilots for night flying.

After the war, he was a partner in a shop business in Hartlepool and moved to East Lancashire in 1969, working as a paper company rep and eventually retiring from Coloroll, Nelson, in 1976.

Mr Hyslop joined the Orpheus in the mid-1970s in the bass section, and also sang in the choir’s octet and quartet. He was still singing in his 90s until his health began to fail.

Choir chairman Peter Booth said: “Graham made a huge contribution to the choir over many years. He was an excellent singer, popular with all our members, and was a true gentleman.”

Living alone since his wife Evelyn died 25 years ago, Mr Hyslop continued to live a busy life and took solo holidays to places including the Rocky Mountains, Las Vegas, Israel and Croatia, going on Orpheus choir trips abroad, and making video recordings of his travels.

Even into his 90s, he was using a laptop computer as treasurer of Nelson United Reformed Church until it closed. He had also been a member of Colne Golf Club and Colne Probus Club, and a volunteer driver taking children to hospital appointments.

Mr Hyslop leaves a daughter Sheila, son-in-law Robert, and two granddaughters.

The family has requested donations in his memory for Macmillan Cancer Support.