Lives Remembered: Enid Walker

For over 60 years she was a focus of musical life in West Yorkshire, particularly as an organist in the Methodist church but also as music teacher and latterly as the honorary representative for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. In 2004, her varied contribution was recognised when she was awarded an MBE, to add to the FRCO and LRCM which already appeared after her name.

Born in 1924, in Outlane above Huddersfield, she left school at 14 to work as a "mill girl" in the then thriving textile mills of West Yorkshire. While training, she was taken to regular recitals on the organ at Huddersfield Town Hall, where among others she met Sir David Willcocks, whose advice – to play well whatever type of music the congregation asked for – she took to heart.

Her first post as organist was at Outlane; afterwards she held appointments at Linthwaite and the Huddersfield Methodist Mission. In 1973 she became the organist and choirmistress at St Andrew's Methodist Church in Halifax, a post she held until her death .

As an organist she maintained the highest standards.A dimunitive figure, always dressed in college robes, she was a model of discreet professionalism, skilfully but without ostentation matching the music to the style of the service. Out of services, she could be heard rippling through arpeggios on the pianos in the Hall to keep them in tune; or just heard, as she attended cheerfully to whatever needed doing.

Her working life spanned seven decades during which she taught generations of children the piano and organ. She was a prolific fund-raiser for local causes. As if her regular 12-hour sponsored organ recitals were not demanding enough, in her eighties she raised the bar by vowing to remain silent for the duration, delighting in everyone else's speculation as to whether she could go without talking for so long.

The world into which she was born, of working textile mills with a Methodist church in every community, has all but disappeared. But Enid carried forward many of its best qualities – industrious, considerate, self-reliant. She embraced new challenges, too. An excellent driver, she had passed the advanced driving test. And in her eightieth year, she climbed the clock tower in the Palace of Westminster (where she had also played the organ in the crypt chapel).

Many years after playing at our wedding, anniversaries were unfailingly remembered by a card, in an envelope bearing the legend, "First Class" (underlined), words which said as much about Enid as the category of postage. A memorial concert is planned in St Andrew's, with contributions from friends and former pupils, to celebrate what she gave to local musical life.

Christopher Blair

If you would like to contribute an obituary of a friend, family member or colleague, please send a piece of no more than 500 words to Obituaries, 'The Independent', 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, by fax to 020 7005 2064 or by email to obituaries@independent.co.uk. We reserve the right to edit copy for length and style

News
newsVideo targets undecided voters
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Life and Style
Cooked up: reducing dietary animal fat might not be as healthy as government advice has led millions of people to believe
healthA look at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
News
Evan Spiegel, the founder of Snapchat, dropped out of Stanford University just before graduation to develop his app
techAnd yes, it is quite a lot
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Retail Business Architect

Flexible for the right candidate: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: I have a fa...

Calypso Developer

£500 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: Calypso Developer Calypso, J2SE, XML, ...

IT Developer/Analyst

£35000 - £36000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A market leading financia...

Pricing Manager, Finance, Edinburgh, £250-350p/d

£250 - £350 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is cur...

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis