A former long-serving employee of Norwich Union and a cathedral lay clerk for more than 50 years has died aged 88. 

Anthony Blyth, of Marham, near Swaffham, would go on to become part of the musical life of nearly every major church and cathedral in Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire. 

He even came out of retirement a week before his final birthday, to sing for the Minster Choir at St Margaret’s in King's Lynn last year.

Anthony John Rix Blyth was born on August 19, 1935, in Hall Road, Norwich. He was the third of four brothers and grew up in the Lakenham area of the city. 

Eastern Daily Press: Norwich Cathedral choir circa 1960

He attended City of Norwich Grammar School for Boys and learned to sing from Maurice Doe, often taking the female lead in most of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. 

He was a choirboy at St Alban’s in Lakenham where the choirmaster was Norwich Cathedral's then lay clerk, Albert Benson. 

During his National Service in the RAF, he sang with the choir at Leamington Spa parish church. 

Following this, he joined Norwich Union in 1953 – now Aviva – where he worked for more than 40 years before retiring as a claims manager in 1995. 

Eastern Daily Press: Norwich Union's Surrey Street office on the occasion of a visit from the late HRH Prince Philip

In March 1960, he began singing with Norwich Cathedral Choir under Heathcote Statham where he sang alto, and occasionally tenor, until 1982. 

He was a founding member of the Broadland Singers, and formed his own singing group which appeared several times on local television. 

He sang with the Clerks of Mancroft and the A Capella Singers, as well as conducting Hethersett Musical Society and operatic societies at Cromer, East Dereham, and Fakenham. 

He subsequently became a lay clerk at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, choirmaster at St Nicholas in Great Yarmouth, and then lay clerk at Ely Cathedral before retiring from the Ely choir at Christmas 2010. 

Eastern Daily Press: Barber shop group recording epilogues for Anglia TV

Mr Blyth married Patricia in 2001. He had three children, two sons and a daughter, from a previous marriage and was “a proud grandfather” to nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. 

Mrs Blyth said: “He had a cheerful and optimistic personality, with a lively sense of fun and good humour.  

“He also had a beautiful voice and lively personality, which is what people will remember most about him.” 

Eastern Daily Press: Anthony "Tony" Blyth

As well as music, he loved sports and played football, cricket, table tennis and snooker. He also enjoyed running and completed the London Marathon aged 65. 

Mr Blyth was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2021. He died at home on March 27.

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