MORE than 600 current and former students, parents and staff attended a memorial service to a much-loved York teacher.

They joined family, friends, and members of the York musical community to remember Bootham School teacher, Richard Burton, who died in July after a short illness at the age of 54.

Mr Burton started working at the York Quaker school in 1986, teaching music and latterly holding the roles of head of sixth form and head of careers. He was also a stalwart of the local musical scene appearing in several productions with York Opera and many other organisations.

The Quaker memorial meeting on Sunday (September 15)combined short musical items from bassoonist Guylaine Eckersley, cellist Maria Marshall and a volunteer choir of Mr Burton’s students and current colleagues, with periods of silent reflection.

Members of the meeting spontaneously shared their memories of Mr Burton and reflected on the impact that he had made on their lives. There was much laughter at some of the anecdotes shared, and the music, as well as the words, brought many tears.

Bootham head, Chris Jeffery, said Richard Burton had dedicated his life fully to music and education with the intention of changing lives.

He said: “The nature and depth of what was shared by those who spoke, and the numbers who attended are testimony to a man who had truly succeeded in achieving his aim.”

A collection was taken for East Riding Music Services, which had sponsored Mr Burton as a young child to travel regularly to London to have piano lessons. He wanted other young people to enjoy the advantage that he had been given. The collection raised £1,009.21.