Nostalgia: ‘It can be quite lonely as a church organist’

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RETIRED electrical engineer Charles Napier shares his memories of being an organist at 
St Peter’s RC church in Morningside for more than 45 years.

RETIRED electrical engineer Charles Napier shares his memories of being an organist at St Peter’s RC church in Morningside for more than 45 years.

Mr Napier, 80, took the job as a temporary appointment to help out the priest at the time, but enjoyed it so much he ended up keeping the post for decades and has worked alongside four different priests over the years.

Mr Napier said one of the biggest changes he witnessed during his time there was the drop in the number of services taking place each Sunday.

He said: “Back in the 60s and 70s, there were three services on a Sunday at St Peter’s, but now there is only one.

“This is mainly down to a shortage of priests.

“Priests are having to share churches nowadays and one priest has to do at least two churches which means they can’t have the same number of services.”

Although being an organist can be a solitary job at times, Mr Napier said he has enjoyed seeing the congregation grow and change over the years.

He said: “One thing that’s noticeable is that there are cycles.

“You have periods where the congregation increases where there’s lots of young people and then they grow up and move away.

“You do get situations where they come back and get married in the church, which is lovely.

“Being the organist, one tends not to meet the congregation too much because we are there before they arrive and then we leave after they have gone.

“It can be quite a lonely job in many ways, but I enjoyed it, otherwise I wouldn’t have done it for so long.”