Wales

Archbishop of Wales honours long-serving musicians

Georgina Jones receiving her award from the Archbishop of Wales
Image caption Organist Georgina Jones receiving her award from the Archbishop of Wales

Three musicians in their 80s have received awards for their contribution to church music, with combined years of service totalling more than 200 years.

Veteran organists Georgina Jones and Grace Murphy and chorister Vivian Roberts were among those receiving medals.

The Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan made the presentations.

He said without their talent and hard work "churches and chapels would simply grind to a musical halt".

The archbishop's certificates of merit in church music recognises non-professional musicians and singers.

Georgina Jones, 88, an organist at the Dolwyddelan parish in Bangor, was shocked when she heard she would receive the certificate.

"It was very emotional. They gave me the letter to read in church.

"I was very upset when they said I was going to win an Archbishop of Wales award. I broke down, I couldn't read it all.

"Seventy years is a long time. I've played at everybody's funeral and weddings. I've been here all my life."

Vivian Roberts, 84, has been a chorister at the Church of Resurrection in Cardiff for 76 years.

'It keeps me going'

He joined the choir at the age of eight, after moving to the Ely area when his father's shop closed during the depression, and he has been singing ever since.

He said he had seen many changes in his years with the choir: "It's altered a lot, it was all male, boys and men, and now it's more women. I enjoy singing with everyone."

Image caption 26 people were awarded the Certificate of Merit

Carol Cobert, a churchwarden who supported Mr Roberts' nomination, said that he "really has encouraged other people in the choir, he's an example to others and you don't get people like that very often."

Grace Murphy, 82, became the organist at St Cadoc's Church, in Aberpergwm, Neath Port Talbot, during World War II, when she was 14.

"My legs were dangling and I couldn't touch the pedals.

"We had an organist, but he went away to the RAF."

Although she said that modern hymns have "got more jazz in them these days", she has no plans to retire.

"It keeps me going, doesn't it? My fingers are still working. And my brain too.

"The trouble is once you start being an organist, you've got a job to finish, because you have to find someone to take over.

"There's not a lot of young people coming up to play. They put on tapes when I'm not there."

The awards were presented at a service in Llandudno at the weekend.

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