Organists celebrates 60 years at church
A CHURCH organist who has played thousands of services over 60 years is being honoured by his community.
John Campbell-Kelly, 88, started playing the organ in Sutton St James’ Church in 1957.
Since then, apart from holidays, John has sat at the organ for every Sunday service - in the morning and evening - as well as mid-week services when necessary.
He has also played for weddings and funerals, scout and guide parades, nativity plays and other events which have needed an organ accompaniment.
Now, 60 years since he began, the Sutton community is holding a celebration to mark the special anniversary.
Sutton St James’ Choir is organising a celebration party after the morning service this Sunday (May 7) for the parishioners in the church hall.
John, of Hollingsworth Lane Sutton, said: “Sutton is a wonderful place to live, particularly with the access to the countryside and I love the community here. I have two people who help me to play the organ at the services in church but I play as much as I can.
“I know there is a celebration being planned for my 60th anniversary and I don’t know everything that’s going on, so it will be a bit of a surprise. I don’t need all the fuss really, I’ve always enjoyed playing the organ over the years and intend to keep playing.”
John was born in West Park hospital when his parents lived in Rainow and he grew up in Macclesfield. He was married to Margaret who died 10 years ago and they have three sons Paul, Ian and Peter. Paul died a year ago. John has five grandchildren and is also a founder of Macclesfield concert band and choir King Edward Musical Society (KEMS).
At this weekend’s service John will perform music that he wants to play as well as the usual hymns.
Sandra Moss, of Hall Lane, John’s friend and church-goer, said: “We are hoping to sing some of the music he’s composed too.
“John doesn’t just play the organ. He can play the piano and tuba and he’s involved in so many community events.
“He’s jovial and friendly and we’re very lucky to have him. This is a big landmark in the church’s and John’s life. Not many people have ever achieved such a remarkable landmark. The whole church family feels incredibly proud of him.”
John Campbell-Kelly has been playing the organ at Sutton St James for 60 years