Musical tribute to a towering talent

Ian Murphy's life was celebrated with music. Picture: Contributed
Ian Murphy's life was celebrated with music. Picture: Contributed
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A MEMORIAL concert has been held to pay tribute to a much-loved music teacher who died at the age of 49 earlier this year.

Ian Murphy, from Haddington, was a well-known and integral member of the community and, alongside his passion for music, was an avid writer, fitness enthusiast and member of many local groups.

A memorial concert – called A Celebration of the Life of Ian Murphy in Words and Music – was held last week at St Mary’s Parish Church.

The concert comprised music and readings in his memory by friends and family, as well as readings of some of Mr Murphy’s poems.

Proceeds from the event were split between Nunraw Abbey, where Mr Murphy enjoyed spending time, and Music In Hospitals Scotland – a charity which provides live performances for patients.

Friend and former colleague Alastair Learmont said: “He was very popular and he very much enjoyed teaching piano. He was an extremely gentle, kind, patient person. He was much loved by his pupils.

“He had a real gift for friendship. When you speak to his pupils, they remember a lot of laughing, a wonderful sense of humour.

“What struck me, when putting posters out for the concert, was that so many people knew Ian.

“He was a very popular figure who was very involved in the community.”

Mr Murphy grew up in Gifford, and went to Edinburgh Academy before studying and working in England for many years, returning to Scotland about a decade ago.

He joined Tyne and Esk Writers, where his poems were commended in various writing competitions. His accomplishments include first prize in the East Lothian poetry category of writer of the year 2011 for How Come, Dad?

Mr Murphy, a former law student, died in January after suffering from gastroenteritis.

Mr Learmont said: “He was buried at Gifford Parish Church, and between 150 and 200 people attended.

“What happened to him was absolutely shocking because you don’t expect people to die like that. There were some sort of complications. He was such a fit person and I think he enjoyed being fit and that sense of how you feel when you are fit.”

In his spare time, Mr Murphy travelled and visited north Africa and the Far East.

As well as his interest in writing, he was also a member of three running groups, including those in Haddington and Dunbar.

Mr Learmont said: “Ian is quite a difficult person to pigeon hole because he had so many interests and also because he was quite a private person.”

Mr Murphy is survived by his mother, Janet, who lives in Haddington, and his brother, Tom, and his family, who live in North Berwick.