A POPULAR organist who has played for royalty at York Minster celebrated his 100th birthday last week.

Born in Malton on October 2, 1917, Dr Francis Jackson went to the town’s National School, and the Minster School. He was there for four years, and was afterwards taken under the tutelage of Dr Edward Bairstow, the Minster organist, at the age of 11.

He received the Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists with the Limpus prize in 1937, graduating with a BMus from Durham University.

When his mentor and teacher, Dr Bairstow, became ill, he was appointed assistant organist at York Minster, and after Dr Bairstow’s death in 1946, he was invited by Dean Eric Milner to take over as organist and Master of the Music, a post he held until retiring in 1982.

Dr Jackson, who lives in Acklam, gave recitals and concerts all over the world, making numerous recordings of solo organ music and choral music with the Minster choir, and his recital career continued past his 95th birthday.

As a composer, his outputs has not abated since retirement and he has more than 150 published works to his name.

From 1972 to 1974, Dr Jackson served as president of the Royal College of Organists. He was made an OBE for services to music in 1982, and after his retirement, he was awarded the Fellowship of the Royal Northern College of Music, the Doctorate of the University of York and the Order of Saint William of York.

In 2007, he received a CBE, and in 2012, he was one of the first three recipients of the Medal of the Royal College of Organists “for organ playing, organ and choral compositions and choral conducting”.

His autobiography, Music For A Long While, was published in 2013.

Dr Jackson continues to play at St John the Baptist Church in Acklam where a weekend of celebrations were held to mark his 100th birthday with family, friends and local people.