'Thank you for the music' - surprise presentation to treasurer as organ club closes down

Brenda Dunn (left) and Beryl Smyter present Clive Townsend with a carriage clock

Brenda Dunn (left) and Beryl Smyter present Clive Townsend with a carriage clock in gratitude for his 25 years as treasurer of the East Devon Organ Club - Credit: Contributed

The Sidmouth-based East Devon Organ Club has been closed down after 37 years – and its long-serving treasurer has been presented with a ‘thank-you’ gift by two members. 

The club had been presenting live monthly concerts by visiting professional organists for its members since its formation in 1984. During the mid-90s membership reached almost 100.

But the numbers began to dwindle a few years ago as live organ music became less popular, and then the Covid pandemic put a stop to the concerts altogether. 

Club treasurer Clive Townsend said: “With the advent of the new decade two years ago, it was becoming increasingly difficult to financially maintain the club, although we had hopes that we would at least be able to complete a full concert programme in 2020. 

“Having already booked a full year's programme with ten organists set to visit us during the year, we were only able to stage two concerts before the nationwide lockdown began on March 23rd.” 

Mr Townsend has been a stalwart of the club almost since it was formed. He joined in 1987, became treasurer in 1995, and took on more and more responsibilities over the years, ending up organising the concerts at Primley Road Church Hall. 

In recognition of his 25 years’ service two club members, Brenda Dunn and Beryl Smyter, presented him with a carriage clock at Christmas, which Mr Townsend said ‘came as a complete but welcome surprise’. 

He said: “We were pleased to be able to end on a positive note by donating our remaining assets to two worthy and deserving charities, the Devon Air Ambulance and Sue Ryder, which each received donations of £1000.” 

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Mr Townsend added: “My sincere thanks go to our secretary Pat, and our ladies committee, Beryl, Brenda and Betty, whose sterling work over many years has ensured that our concert evenings worked like a well-oiled machine and without whom my task would not have been possible. 

“Many thanks are also due to all the members, visitors and artists for their wonderful support over the years, making the club a great success and one that will be missed."