Organist who has played at church for 80 years receives royal award

Mary Heather, who has been playing the organ at All Saints, Burnham Thorpe, for eight decades.

Mary Heather, who has been playing the organ at All Saints, Burnham Thorpe, for eight decades. - Credit: Charles Inglis.

A veteran Norfolk organist has been honoured with a special fund-raising award by the Prince of Wales.

Mary Heather, who has been playing the organ at All Saints, Burnham Thorpe, for eight decades, raised £25,700 of the record total of more than £175,000 in the Norfolk Churches Trust’s latest annual Bike Ride.

She was presented with a certificate signed by Prince Charles, who is patron of the Norfolk Churches Trust, in recognition of her remarkable achievement.

the group outside All Saints, Burnham Thorpe

Mary Heather, centre, with her nephew Paul Howard, and Lady Dannatt (in green), Norfolk's Lord Lieutenant, and members of the Norfolk Churches Trust, including Lord Dannatt (extreme right) and trust chairman, Peter Sheppard, extreme left. - Credit: Charles Inglis.

Lady Dannatt, Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, presented the framed certificate on behalf of the Prince of Wales.

She also gave a £1,000 cheque from the trust to the church for raising the most by an individual as well as a bottle of champagne to the 93-year-old, who started playing the church organ as a teenager.

Mary Heather accepting the award

Mary Heather, who has been playing the organ at All Saints, Burnham Thorpe, for eight decades, raised £25,700 of the record total of more than £175,000 in the Norfolk Churches Trust’s latest annual Bike Ride. - Credit: Charles Inglis.


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In reply, Mrs Heather, who played at the service, which was taken by the Rev Steve Wood, thanked her friends and supporters. She had thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the annual Bike Ride for many years, which had given her the opportunity to visit so many churches.

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