Requiem for dedicated church organist in Garstang

Brian Dickinson played the organ in Garstang for more than 30 years.
Brian Dickinson played the organ in Garstang for more than 30 years.
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A popular church organist, whose dedication was recognised by the Pope, has died at the age of 84.

Brian Dickinson, who played at the St Mary and St Michael RC parish in Garstang for more than 30 years, passed away after a lengthy illness.

The organist, who was also musical director of the Garstang Light Opera Group, had been suffering from dementia since last winter.

His daughter Anne Blackshaw paid tribute, saying: “I know that his passing will be a huge loss to the parish and the Garstang community. But it is heartwarming to know how well-respected and loved he was.”

Brian was the organist at hundreds of weddings and funerals over his three decades at St Mary and St Michael. He also played at the Anglican St Thomas’s Church in Garstang as well as others in the area.

He was a member of the evensong choir at St Thomas’s every Sunday and was well-known for performing his annual organ recital at the Garstang Arts Festival.

Daughter Anne said: “Up to last summer, despite being 83, he was regularly seen riding his bike round Garstang to do his errands and bits of shopping.

“He was a regular on Friday evenings at the Royal Oak in Garstang after choir practice at St Thomas’s.

“I put a note on the Your Garstang Facebook page and was overwhelmed with the lovely comments from so many people with whom he had contact in his 33 years living in Garstang.

“Over the last five years he has devoted himself to the care of our mother Frances as she has mobility and other health problems.

“It was a shock to us all when he developed dementia last winter and the speed of his decline was surprising to everyone.”

Brian’s work for the Catholic Church was recognised when he was presented with the Benemerenti honour in Rome. He was also a member of the Catenians, an association of Catholic laymen.

His death comes just days after the funeral of Fr David Elder, a priest at St Mary and St Michael for 14 years.

Brian’s Requiem Mass is being held at the church today at 11am, followed by burial in the church grounds.