Former organist of Holmfirth Parish Church and founder accompanist of Holmfirth Choral Society Derick Lockwood has died at the age of 94.
He leaves his wife Marjorie, sons Geoffrey, Stephen and David, daughter Elizabeth, and five grandchildren.
Derick was brought up at Hillhouse Edge, high above the Holme Valley, and was educated at Holme Valley Grammar School before working at Moorbrook Mills, New Mill, where he spent his entire working life.
He was taught to play the piano by Hubert Beever, who also taught Keith Swallow, and Derick’s early experience of choral accompaniment included oratorios conducted by Hubert, with pianist Keith and organist Derick, at Brighouse Methodist Church.
Whilst still a schoolboy he entered a number of musical festivals as a pianist, winning several first prizes.
He gained the A.T.C.L. diploma for piano teaching before reaching his sixteenth birthday. Such was his reputation locally as a keyboard player that he was head-hunted for the post of organist at Hinchliffe Mill Methodist Church before he had any experience of organ playing. It was whilst he was at Hinchliffe Mill that he met his wife Marjorie, who was a choir member there. Married in 1949, they moved to New Mill.
He became the first accompanist of the current Holmfirth Choral Society, previously the Holmfirth Parish Church Choral Society in 1945, remaining in this post until 1981. He also became organist at Holmfirth Parish Church, moving from Hinchliffe Mill, in 1954, where he remained, eventually becoming choirmaster too, until 1985. He was also an accompanist to the Holmfirth Musical Festival for over 30 years until 1981.
During these years he accompanied many singers both amateur and professional, including some who were in their early careers and who were later to become internationally known. He built up a reputation for his accurate and sensitive accompaniments.
Unfortunately, by 1981, he was feeling the effects of arthritis in his fingers, and he decided to cease playing the piano in public aged only 61. He continued a
further four years playing the organ, but then retired as arthritis was now taking its toll.
His retirement allowed him to spend more time with his family – he was a doting husband and father. He taught all his children to play the piano, and encouraged his grandchildren similarly. It became apparent in the 1990s that he was suffering from a progressive disorder which affected his muscular coordination,
and he became increasingly housebound. Still mentally alert, he was able at 90 to teach his youngest grandchild to play chess.
A man of quiet disposition, but with a ready wit, Derick endeared himself to many, not least his carers and fellow residents in the nursing home where he spent his last 19 months.
A memorial service was held in Holmfirth Parish Church after a private family funeral.