Recollections

by
02 November 2006

Canon Geoffrey Mills writes:
WHEN Michael Fleming ( Obituary, Gazette, 24 February) was our Organist and Choirmaster at Chingford Parish Church in the  1950s, I was fortunate enough to be a young man in the choir. My late father was also a choirman at that time.
 
All of us in the choir were inspired and encouraged by Michael's musicianship, his Christian dedication, his friendship, and his enthusiasm. I believe that we were among the first to hear and to sing his tune Palace Green, and we loved it. To our great benefit, Michael kept us in close touch with the Royal School of Church Music.
 
Michael's example in those years has been an influence for good on me throughout my life so far, and I am deeply thankful.
 
Canon David Naumann adds: For most of the time I was secretary of Canterbury diocesan advisory committee (DAC), from 1970 to 1995, Michael Fleming was our Diocesan Organ Consultant, visiting the parishes to advise whenever work to, or replacement of, a church organ was contemplated. He would also advise in all instances of liturgical reordering, and comment on any aspect of work to the church fabric which, in his opinion, related to the well-being or otherwise of organs and choirs.
 
He provided detailed reports of his visits and recommendations, which became helpful resource material for the DAC. The Commissary General, the late John Newey QC, often sought his expert opinion. All of this he combined with tireless work as a church musician, and as an examiner for more 30 years for the Associated Board.
 
The DAC was glad to hear, early in 1985, the good news of Michael's marriage to Anne, and his also gaining the love and affection of a daughter, Victoria, who encouraged him to start the Nicholson Girls Choir, and who with Anne shared not only his commitment to church music, but also his interest in vintage cars.
 
Lord Carey recognised his work and long service by awarding him a Lambeth MA.

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