John’s key role in Waldron choir success

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WHEN JOHN Francis went into the bar at The Star, Waldron; queued for stamps in Heathfield Post Office or lined up outside the High Street butcher’s shop, he used the time to recruit potential members to his choir.

He’d say: “You sound as if you have a voice” to unsuspecting people standing alongside. The outcome was one of the most successful church choirs in East Sussex.

The choir of All Saints, Waldron and its sister church, St Bartholomew’s in Cross-in-Hand was invited to sing in cathedrals at Chichester, Portsmouth, Southwark, Salisbury, Arundel and Rochester and the BBC’s Songs of Praise from St John’s, Tunbridge Wells.

John, now 83, retired from his role as organist and choirmaster three years ago and last Friday friends gathered at St Bartholomew’s where a plaque was installed recording his contribution to the life of the churches. John and his wife continue to live in Cross-in-Hand.

All Saints churchwarden Graeme Mackenzie said: “John is a great character and he really boosted the choir. We were delighted to attend on Friday and the plaque is a worthy recognition of all he did for the music in both churches.”

Also attending was current church organist, Ben Tyler.