MARJORIE GLEED was the first woman to serve as Secretary of the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain. She guided the society carefully through its recent period of change and growth, including the granting of its second Royal Charter in 1987.
The Royal Society of Musicians - Britain's oldest musical charity - was founded in the 1730s. From 1738 to the present day the society has helped thousands of musicians and their dependants who through accident or infirmity have found themselves in need of assistance.
Marjorie Gleed brought to her role a charm and tact invaluable to the sometimes difficult process of dispensing charity. Apart from recording the proceedings of the monthly meetings - on an old-
fashioned stenotype machine - she also liaised with members of the society's committees on a daily basis and visited needy applicants in their homes. She was the society's official representative on formal occasions and also supplied welcoming tea and greeting kisses to visitors at the society's rooms in Stratford Place, off Oxford Street, in London. To many people she was the society.
She was born Marjorie Meager in London, in 1920, the youngest of five children of musical parents. Her oldest sister, Norah, sang in the pre-war Vic-Wells company for which her surviving sister Alys danced. Her brother was an amateur musician and her other sister a reader in Aesthetics.
She became a junior exhibitioner and then a violin student at the Royal College of Music and during the war served in the WAAF. In 1949 she married the accountant Percy Gleed, a talented pianist and organist, and returned from Dar es Salaam to London with him in the late 1950s. In 1960 she became secretary to the Royal College of Music's appeals organiser and in 1963 started to work part-time for both the Society of Women Musicians and the Royal Society of Musicians. Her warm and enthusiastic personality and caring help endeared her to hundreds of beneficiaries of the society, and to all its members.