Thank you – All Saints’


As the song goes ‘We’ve been together for forty years and it don’t seem a day too long’! Well it was 40-years in January and I then decided it was time to retire from the post that I took on, together with Colin Bessant, in January 1977. For four years previously I had been assistant to former organists.

This was for the Induction Service of the Revd Jack Whittaker, who came to Faringdon along with Joan and their three boys, followed in time by Roger Hoare, Andrew Bailey, Charles Draper and now Steve Bellamy.

April 23rd – St. George’s Day – Civic Service – my retirement. What a day to go out on a high with!

We had a wonderful service filled with worship, praise, singing, music and words. The service led by Steve was attended by the Town Mayor, Mike Wise, together with the Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff of the County, together with Town Councillors and many representatives from activities and groups within the town. As Steve said “We were thanking people for offering their gifts and skills to support the community”.

After the music group and choir had sung the Anthem, ‘I will dwell in His secret place’, a presentation was made to myself, and the Church Choir all wearing a red rose given by Petra, joined me on the dais together with Steve and the Churchwardens.

Andrew Bailey happened to be in Faringdon that weekend and he was asked to say a few works regarding my work with the Celia Walker Trust and service to the church.

A bouquet of pink roses and lilies was presented by Jim McGowan; the glass bowl originally presented after 25-years had been re-engraved with the years 1977 – 2017 and the number 40. on the reverse side, presented by Katie Foot.

The Vicar then presented a cheque for the British Heart Foundation and a card, signed by himself and the Wardens, together with a message from Luke Williams, (then Head Coach of Swindon Town Football Club) ‘Congratulations on an amazing achievement’.

As well as these gifts I received a posy of garden flowers and later a silver framed photograph of the members of the choir, around the Organ Consul with me at the “controls”, taken after the Civic Service.

At the end of the service, I played the choir out to Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’. This was followed by a cake cutting ceremony in the Barber Rooms with a cake made by Denise.

I also received many good wishes and cards from church members and some further afield, and wish to share some of these comments with you:

‘You have had monumental pleasure from playing the organ for many years, it has been a big part of your life’.

‘Thank you for the years I have been in the choir, going to other churches to sing, including St George’s Chapel, at Windsor Castle’.

‘Many many thanks for your 40 years of faithful service, we will miss you’.

The card signed by all the members of the Choir, on the front – Thank you dear Joy! – with a picture of an organ pipe at the side – how appropriate.

‘Thank you for the music’.

‘You’ve done a great job’.

‘I was there when you took up the role of Organist at All. Saints’. I have appreciated all you have given to the worship in the church which is considerable. Your gifts have blessed many people including me’;

‘We thank you for your faithful and generous service to All Saints’. You have been unstinting in your giving and we thank God for you’.

‘Keep playing and singing whilst enjoying your retirement, open all the stops and have fun’.

At the end of the presentation, I said I had given my thanks to so many people in January, but asked everyone to take away with them words from Psalm 111: Praise the Lord. I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; in the company of the upright, in the congregation both past and present. Great are the works of the Lord and his praise endures for ever.

This is the word of the Lord – THANKS BE TO GOD

Joy Blake