A 'LEGENDARY' former organist at York Minster - and "much-loved" figure in the city - has died aged 104.

Internationally renowned organ recitalist, composer and former Master of Music at York Minster, Dr Francis Jackson CBE, died peacefully yesterday (January 10) in York surrounded by his family.

Born in 1917, Francis spent his childhood in the town of Malton. He first became involved in York Minster’s music as a schoolboy chorister in 1929. After active service as a soldier in the Second World War, Francis returned to York Minster in 1946 to become Master of the Music, succeeding his teacher and mentor, Sir Edward Bairstow. He served for a remarkable 36 years alongside his illustrious career as an internationally renowned organ recitalist and composer.

York Press:

Francis Jackson meets The Queen in June, 1971

York Minster’s director of music, Robert Sharpe, who knew Francis well, said: “The world of church music has lost one of the great legends of our time with the death, peacefully, of Dr Francis Jackson CBE, beloved Organist Emeritus of York Minster.

"His was a remarkably long and illustrious life and he remained active as a superb organ recitalist into his tenth decade and, as a composer, into his eleventh. His name will forever be associated with York Minster where he served for so many years and whose organ was made justly famous by his pioneering recordings.

"As a composer, he is best known for his choral and organ works which are widely performed at home and abroad, his prolific output remains a lasting legacy. His last visit to the Minster was to hear the recently-restored organ, a visit which brought him and us all great joy.

"Our love and prayers are with Alice, Edward, William and the family and with the very many who were privileged to count him as a friend. May he rest in peace and rise in glory."

York Press:

Francis celebrating his 104th birthday last year

Also paying tribute to Mr Jackson, The Dean of York, Jonathan Frost said: “The community at York Minster mourns the loss of an inspirational Organist Emeritus. Until the very end of his life, Francis retained an active, humorous and intellectually razor-sharp interest in the musical life of York Minster.

"He has been an inspiration to generations of choristers and musicians alike, here in York and across the world. He leaves a living legacy in the vibrant life of the Choir of York Minster, through a body of work and musical compositions which are sung or played at the Minster on a regular basis.

"We will miss him very much and pray for Alice, Edward, William and his family at this time."

Dr Jackson composed over 160 pieces of music during his career. Upon his retirement, he received the Fellowship of the Royal Northern College of Music, the Doctorate of the University of York and the Order of Saint William of York.