Royal award for Burnham Thorpe church organist
Mary Heather, who has been playing the organ at Burnham Thorpe parish church for eight decades, has received an award from the Prince of Wales for her fund-raising achievement for the Norfolk Churches Trust.
Mary, who is now 93 years old, started playing the organ at All Saints, Burnham Thorpe, as a teenager, and she is still doing so eighty years later. A special service was held at which she was presented with her award.
She raised a magnificent £25,700 of the record total of more than £175,000 in the Norfolk Churches Trust’s latest annual Bike Ride. She was presented with a certificate which had been signed by Prince Charles, who is patron of the Norfolk Churches Trust, in recognition of her remarkable achievement. Lady Dannatt, Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, presented the framed certificate on behalf of the Prince. She also gave a £1,000 cheque from the trust to the church for raising the most by an individual, as well as a bottle of champagne for Mary herself.
Revd. Steve Wood, Priest-in-charge of the Burnham Benefice, said in his address, “Mary who has been a tireless contributor to this church here in Burnham Thorpe, has been a churchwarden and a leader in the community, and has played the organ here for more years than I care to say. Today we are specially thanking her for her fundraising effort for Norfolk Churches, which she has been doing by bicycle, and on foot for many years.”
In reply, Mrs Heather, who played at the service, thanked her friends and supporters. She had thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the annual Bike Ride for many years, which had given her the opportunity to visit so many churches.
The photo above shows Mary Heather, centre, with her nephew Paul Howard, and Lady Dannatt (in green), Norfolk's Lord Lieutenant, and members of the Norfolk Churches Trust, including Lord Dannatt (extreme right) and trust chairman, Peter Sheppard, extreme left. The picture is courtesy of Charles Inglis.
This story is based on an article in the Eastern Daily Press.
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