Farewell to church organist who played for 66 years

Jack Moon pictured in his garden
Jack Moon pictured in his garden

A veteran church organist has died after a record 66 years of music making at a local church.

Jack Moon first played the organ at St Mary’s RC church at Chipping, near Preston, when he was 14.

The occasion, in March, 1951, was his Uncle Alan’s wedding. He had continued playing at the same church for numerous local weddings and funerals, as well as Sunday services, until a few months ago.

Jack, 81, a former pupil of Preston Catholic College, died in Longridge Hospital on November 14.

His loyal musical service was recognised by the Catholic church, when, after 50 years of playing, he was awarded a Papal Benemerenti medal to mark his decades of work for the parish.

Born in 1936, Jack was one of four children and spent his early years in Longridge, before the family moved to Chipping in the 1940s. As a schoolboy he was taught piano by a Miss Gertrude Turner of Longridge.

When Jack married Monica Seed, a local farmer’s daughter, in 1960, his family recalls how the musical tables were turned. Father Joseph Higham, then parish priest of St Mary’s arranged for Salford Cathedral Choir to sing at the wedding and the organ was played by Father Joseph’s cousin.

During National Service Jack was a wagon driver in Bolton and later worked for W and J Riding of Longridge as an HGV driver for many years.

Since retiring 20 years ago he also helped by playing at St Wilfrid’s RC Church in Longridge and at other church services.

Jack leaves four children, Vron, Win, John and Daniel, 10 grandchildren and met his first great granddaughter Charlotte a few days before he died.

Vron paid tribute, saying: “He was involved in parish and village life, was popular and respected and will be sadly missed by many.”