Anniversary and royal recording are high notes for Sidmouth Parish Church organist Bob

Bob Millington.

Bob Millington. - Credit: Archant

The organist at Sidmouth Parish Church has celebrated 35 years in the role – despite vowing to never play the instrument again when he first moved to the town.

Musician Bob Millington (pictured) celebrated reaching the milestone on February 1 – and it was his second landmark achievement in just a few months.

Bob, 68, was also proud to be part of the choir which sang the national anthem for the Queen’s Christmas broadcast

In November, the Bennetts Hill resident was asked to join a specially-formed group to sing the first two verses of God Save the Queen for the Christmas Day programme. He was then sworn to secrecy about the recording, which took five hours to perfect at the ITN studios in Ardingly, West Sussex.

He said: “It took us a while to get it really right. I couldn’t say anything to anybody. Hints were given that people would really want to watch the Queen’s speech. When something like this comes along, it is a great and exciting opportunity.”

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Bob was encouraged to apply to become the organist at the parish church following the retirement of his predecessor Norman Sayers. He has now gone on to play the instrument more than 6,200 times.

“They wanted a relief organist to play on Christmas Day. I was to play that one service,” said Bob.

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“The church had an availability and I didn’t go for it right until the end of the deadline. I couldn’t stop my fingers moving. I have seen the organ grow - it really is a fantastic organ.”

The former head of music at Sidmouth College said he grew up with a passion for music and began playing the organ at the age of nine. After leaving teaching, he joined an organ restoration firm and currently looks after more than 400 organs across Cornwall, Devon and Dorset.

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