Society marks 40 years at last meet

Horsham Organ/Keyboard Society secretary and life member Violet Whittingham alongside Dave Richardson, president, life member and MC for the evening SUS-180129-155649001
Horsham Organ/Keyboard Society secretary and life member Violet Whittingham alongside Dave Richardson, president, life member and MC for the evening SUS-180129-155649001

This month saw Horsham Organ/Keyboard Society celebrate its 40th anniversary at the Horsham YMCA, which has been its home for the past 38 years.

The huge cake was cut by secretary and life member Violet Whittingham alongside Dave Richardson, president, life member and MC for the evening.

There were 100 people in attendance including past chairmen Len Tindall and Terry Cullen, along with original members Andy Baker, Chris and Patsy Fitter, Fred Mills (his wife Betty in convalesance) and Andy Obal, who played for the society many times in the early days, plus many other members from the past.

The society was formed by friends Mike Randon and Ian Wollen who started meetings at the Horsham Methodist Church hall in London Road where they stayed for two years before moving to the YMCA which had a stage, a bar and were allowed to hold raffles, an important part in raising revenue for funds.

Mark Randon is no longer with us but his wife Morag, son Mark (who gave a very moving speech on his father’s behalf) and daughter Jane were there.

A speech sent by Ian Wollen from his home in Florida was read out, as Ian said his age and health did not permit him to travel for the event.

The entertainment was provided by Rod Pooley on the keyboards, who gave a fantastic night of great music.

The superb catering was done by Sarah Larkin, which was complimented by so many people.

Sadly this was the last meeting of the society as its numbers have fallen over the years. There were still funds remaining so the society presented £1,000 each to The Chestnut Tree, Macmillan Support team and Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance charities.

There is still a hope another similar club will start again in the future and when this happens it will be advertised locally for all to come along to.

It was a very memorable evening to say a fond farewell to the society that has brought many friends together, to see some wonderful organists and listen to some beautiful music over the past 40 years.