Long-serving Haywards Heath organist left ‘speechless’ after award

Felicity going up to receive her framed portrait from Wayne Marshall. Picture: Melvyn Walmsley
Felicity going up to receive her framed portrait from Wayne Marshall. Picture: Melvyn Walmsley

A long-serving Haywards Heath organist was left ‘speechless’ when she was presented with a framed photo by internationally renowned organist Wayne Marshall.

Felicity Amor has been an assistant organist at St Wilfrid’s Church in Haywards Heath for almost 70 years.

Picture: Melvyn Walmsley

Picture: Melvyn Walmsley

She was awarded the photo at Mr Marshall’s concert on June 21.

Mr Marshall travels the world conducting orchestras and plays many great church and concert organs.

He wanted to give the church’s assistant Felicity a ‘special thank you present’ from everyone at the church before travelling to Manchester to perform in a concert.

Melvyn Walmsley, communications officer for St Wilfrid’s Parish, said: “Felicity said that she had been ‘dumbfounded’ when she was asked to step forward to huge applause.

Picture: Melvyn Walmsley

Picture: Melvyn Walmsley

“For Felicity to be speechless was astonishing in itself because, following her work as head of drama at Ashford School in Kent for 25 years, she has been spending her retirement globe trotting herself, as a highly respected speech and drama adjudicator.

“And, just as Wayne has many strings to his bow, it’s remarkable that playing the organ and singing have, overall, been Felicity’s second string interest, compared with her internationally respected specialisms of speech and drama.”

Felicity recalls that her debut as assistant organist at St Wilfrid’s Church had come when she was just 15 and the organist had the flu.

The rector at that time, reverend Canon Tarrant, asked her to step in at very short notice even though she knew how to play only three hymns. Instead of a fourth hymn, she played Psalm 23, The Lord is my Shepherd.

Brought up and educated in Haywards Heath, Felicity, who has consistently attended St Wilfrid’s, has recently been living in Ditchling, to which her parents moved in 1975.

Though they began to attend St Margaret’s Church in the village, Felicity remained what she is now, a valued and highly respected member of St Wilfrid’s.

Burgess Hill pool set to reopen after £600,000 facelift

Burgess Hill cleaning company goes for green

Mid Sussex brewery scoops four medals