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Bryan Woof, 89, receives ArtServe long service award
HE started playing the organ during the Second World War and still plays almost every week at a York Methodist church.
During seven decades of service, members of his congregations have included none other than former Wimbledon champion John McEnroe.
Now Bryan Woof, 89, has received a special award for “enriching the life of the church with over 70 years as organist.”
The ArtServe long service award, presented at Poppleton Methodist Church, is intended to recognise the often unsung contribution of anyone who has employed their creative skills in worship over a substantial period.
Mr Woof’s son Martin said he first learned to play the piano when he was nine years old, having lessons in Acomb with a Miss Pexton. “He later learned to play the organ with tuition from Freddie Wain at St Peter’s School in York,” he said.
“He first started playing the organ in church at the age of 19 years at Acomb Methodist Church. He went on to play at Methodist churches in Rotherham, Wetherby, Tockwith, and then Poppleton since 1986.
“In the past, he would play at church services morning and evening each week. More latterly it has been mornings only, but each week. It is only within recent weeks that he has decided to reduce slightly, taking one Sunday off per month, but he still goes to church then.”
He said his father, who worked as a clerk at the Midland Bank, also played the piano for the annual pantomime at Poppleton Methodist Church.
Mr Woof was the organist at a celebrity wedding some years ago, when former Wimbledon tennis champion John McEnroe was the best man at the wedding of his former doubles partner Peter Fleming to Jennifer Hudson at Wetherby Methodist Church. “The area was all cordoned off,” said his son.
He said his father still very much enjoyed playing and had no plans to retire. “In fact, he tells me he hopes to be able to carry on for a further ten years!”
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