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Obituary: Andrew Moore

18 February 2022

Correspondents write:

ANDREW MOORE, a former chief executive of Hymns Ancient and Modern, brought many years’ experience of business, music, publishing, and church life to the job.

Born in 1949, in Eastbourne, Andrew went first to the local grammar school, and then to Kingswood, a Methodist boarding school in Bath. Here, he took up the organ and played for services in the chapel. This began his enduring love of music and worship.

He was awarded an organ scholarship by Vickers, and read maths at Queens’ College, Cambridge. He also rowed for the college. After graduation, he worked for Roneo Vickers, in Liverpool; two years later, in 1974, he joined Marks & Spencer as a merchandiser. He said that it was his job to get the right merchandise in the right store at the right price at the right time, and that he quickly became aware of what sold and what did not.

He enjoyed a 25-year career with the retailer, becoming a commercial executive across several departments. He made the company the brand leader in Lycra leggings, and its jeans became second only to Levis. He also worked in human resources, and was involved in a strategic review of the whole company.

At the same time, he was involved with local church life and school communities. He chaired the governors of his children’s primary school for nine years. He helped to oversee a change in the age of transfer to secondary school, and moved the school to grant-maintained status. Another achievement was instigating a new roof for the open-air swimming pool, by fund-raising, applying for grants, and working with the architects.

Andrew Moore at the organ in Wedmore

In the 1970s, Andrew was able to start playing the organ for worship again. He was organist of Sanderstead Methodist Church for almost 20 years, before moving to Kenley Methodist Church, and then Warlingham Methodist Church, where he remained until illness prevented him last summer. He had a skill for leading congregational singing of many styles of music. He loved seeing the talents of others, particularly young people, develop.

Andrew was involved with the Methodist Church for many years at the local level, in the circuit, and nationally, where he served on the Methodist Strategy and Resources Committee. He served as a warden and circuit steward, and helped to run a redevelopment project at Warlingham. He believed that the church’s purpose was to serve the community, and lived this out by running film groups, holiday clubs, coffee mornings, and more.

For more than 20 years, he helped to develop youth work at Warlingham; after retirement, he volunteered at a weekly evening session. He marvelled at the way in which the young people accepted him, the “old man”, so readily; he made every effort to get alongside them and understand their issues.

His time at Marks & Spencer came to an end in 1999, when he was made redundant. He set up as a business analyst and strategy consultant, before becoming the managing director of a communication company for three years. This led to an interim post as commercial director at a food-industry body, where he worked with retailers, manufacturers, and farmers.

He always said that he learned from each job, and that each job led to the next, as he built on his skills. This was evident when he took up his last post, at Hymns Ancient and Modern. This brought together his lifetime of working in business (large and small), publishing, music, and church. The charity benefited greatly by the application of his keen commercial instincts, especially when assessing (and sometimes rejecting) new ventures.

In the midst of helping the charity to a sounder footing, he made a lasting contribution to hymn-book publishing. He suggested a supplement to Hymns Ancient and Modern, to contain many more modern — but musically, theologically, and liturgically excellent — compositions with which he was familiar as a church musician. A team of editors was formed, and Sing Praise was the result. It did not stop there. The latest edition of Hymns A&M had been published in 2000, soon after the Church of England introduced Common Worship; the hymn book was re-titled Common Praise to accompany it.

After a decade or so, this was not such a strong selling point, and Common Praise was already looking a bit old-fashioned. So, work began on a new edition that would incorporate Sing Praise and meet the Church’s needs for good contemporary music as well as traditional hymns. The name was reverted to the familiar, and, in 2013, Ancient and Modern: Hymns and songs for refreshing worship was published. It is greatly loved and widely used; we have Andrew’s original inspiration to thank for that.

Andrew Moore watching albatrosses in the Falkland Islands

Andrew had also been involved, as a volunteer, in the production of the Methodist Church’s hymn book Singing the Faith.

Also under his leadership at Hymns Ancient and Modern, the group expanded to include the Church House Bookshop, and the publication of Third Way and a magazine for girls, Caris. The book and periodical divisions moved to larger premises in Smithfield, and the Norwich warehouse became a distribution handler for other publishers. His approachable and interested manner with staff was widely appreciated.

Throughout his life, Andrew was a fan of Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club. He started going to matches with his father, then his son, and later his grandson. Andrew would say that in the business world, there was one golden rule: never mention football or religion. But he would insist on mentioning them both; he said that it helped to define who he was.

It was not just what Andrew did in business that mattered, but also the manner in which he operated. Cards and letters sent to the family tell of his integrity, commitment, approachability, kindness, and willingness to give up his time, wherever he came into contact with people. Most often commented upon was his humour, wit, and warmth of smile. He was noted for his laugh, more of a bellow, which could enliven any situation.

Andrew died on 24 November 2021, aged 72. He is survived by his wife, Rosemary, their two children, and four grandchildren.

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