Organist honoured for 50 years service

DOUG Chittock first started playing the organ at a local church when he was just 13.Fifty-five years later he is still playing at several churches south of Eye and his half-century service to one of them, at Bedfield, has just been recognised with the presentation of a cheque.

By David Green

DOUG Chittock first started playing the organ at a local church when he was just 13.

Fifty-five years later he is still playing at several churches south of Eye and his half-century service to one of them, at Bedfield, has just been recognised with the presentation of a cheque.

Mr Chittock, 68, was born and brought up in Bedingfield where he lived and worked for most of his life before retiring to Stradbroke six years ago.


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As a 13-year-old he cycled to nearby Rishangles to play the organ for services in a building which has now been converted into a house.

Once word got round about his talent, he was soon invited to play at other churches, including Kenton, Redlingfield, Horham, Southolt and Athelington, and his service to Bedfield Church now extends to 52 years.

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A retired farmer, he has also been officiating in Stradbroke Church for a quarter of a century.

As well as being organist at regular services, he provides the music at weddings and funerals.

“I used to cycle to the churches before I got a machine with a small engine on the back wheel. Eventually I got a car,” he said.

“I am now playing the music for the weddings of the daughters of people whose weddings I played at many years ago. I hope I'll still be playing for a third generation,” he added.

Mr Chittock still plays the keyboard for the regular Saturday night dances at Wilby Village Hall and for many other social events.

He and two friends, David Tye and Ray Leader, formed a band many years ago called Double D Plus. It was Mr Tye, churchwarden at Bedfield, who recently presented the cheque to him.

“Every Sunday morning I go to Bedfield for the 10am service and then get back to Stradbroke for the service that starts at 11.15 am,” Mr Chittock said.

During his lifetime he has seen church congregations and attendances at social events fall sharply and this saddens him.

But he still enjoys making music and the singing of hymns. His favourite hymn is Love Divine.

“My only regret is that I didn't keep a diary from the start of all the hundreds of services I have been involved with,” Mr Chittock said.

He is grateful for the support he has had from his wife, Betty. “If it wasn't for her I don't know whether I'd have kept doing this,” he said.

The couple have two boys and six grandchildren.

david.green@eadt.co.uk

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