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
Lord Carey recognised his work and long service by awarding him a Lambeth