Choirmaster who planned to help Suffolk church for only three weeks retires after 45 years
- Credit: St Mary's Parish Church
A choirmaster retired from his role at St Mary's Parish Church in Woodbridge earlier this month after 45 years of service.
Bob Pegnall BEM, began his role as choirmaster and organist at the Suffolk church back in 1976 as a favour, as there was no replacement for the outgoing choirmaster.
"I stood in in 1976 in September for three weeks and finished last Sunday," said Bob.
He revealed he was asked "Bob will you just stand in for two or three weeks while we find somebody?" He agreed but then never left.
Over the near half century since Bob, who was a maths teacher at Copleston High School, has missed very few services for his church only going away a few weekends a year for a holiday.
But turning 70 three weeks ago, he decided it was time to step down.
"I'm missing it already," he added. "I still loved it but I'm glad to relinquish the responsibility and the commitment, it'll be nice to have the odd weekend when I can just dash off.
- 1 10 Suffolk celebrities and where they went to school
- 2 'Despicable racism' condemned after letter in post
- 3 Ipswich bricklayer dragged wife out of car before kicking and punching her
- 4 'It's what I know and love': Former lorry driver opens food truck on A12
- 5 Fire crews called to fire on flat balcony in busy Ipswich road
- 6 Ipswich man appears in court charged with child sex offences
- 7 School in Ipswich 'proud' of good Ofsted report
- 8 Peugeot stolen from Ipswich pub car park
- 9 Homeless man allegedly stabbed man who offered help
- 10 Delays on A14 after Orwell Bridge incident
"I should go to church as normal but I should sit at the back and take it in rather than give it out.
"I shall look forward to it actually, it will be really nice."
The church held a service for Bob on November 21, with many former choristers attending to share their warmest thanks for his faithful, pastoral and musical ministry over the years.
The choir presented him with a long-service medal from the Royal School of Church Music to which St Mary’s has been affiliated all these years.
They also sang one of his favourite hymns 'Ye Holy Angels Bright'.
Bob continued: "The choir are my family to be honest.
"It wasn't just signing together, if anyone had a problem or anything people in the choir always used to help one another."
Throughout his decades providing the music he says services have "evolved" but they are still very similar in many ways.
Some modern hymns are played but the traditional ones have been retained too.
Bob plans to spend some of his free weekend in a caravan along the North Norfolk coast next year and will continue play his organ and piano at home.
He added: "Thank you to everyone for a wonderful evening last Sunday It was absolutely terrific.
"I loved it, the choir was fantastic, the congregation turned up. It was really special."