Derek Nightingale

(From The Villager June/July 2020)

Tributes to Derek, who died in April, have flooded in saying: he was a gentleman, a lovely man, such an asset to the church, a fine and loyal organist, an inspiring musician, he will be greatly missed.

Derek became organist and choirmaster at St Agatha’s in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell in March 1997 and at St Mary Magdalene, Crowmarsh in 2009. Over the years, St Agatha’s benefited greatly from his playing for services and encouraging the choir that sings regularly on Sundays. This choir, augmented to 20 or more voices for special performances such as The Crucifixion at Easter, the summer concerts, and carols before Christmas, were landmarks where Derek played and conducted. Over the years his repertoire included duets on the grand piano and organ marathons together with fugues and organ voluntaries. To mark his achievements, in September 2018 he was awarded the Fellowship of St Birinus in Dorchester Abbey.

Derek loved St Agatha’s organ--- an instrument superior to the instruments found in most parish churches. He practised with Bryn, his dog, who posed like the terrier in the classic HMV advertisement. He was a member of the Oxfordshire Guild of Organists and with other members he visited a number of cities on the continent to listen to and play historic organs.

Derek was educated at Stowe School and at Balliol College, Oxford from 1949 to 1952. National Service, as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Horse Artillery, took him to the Canal Zone in Egypt, Libya and Germany. Until 1967 he was a territorial army captain in the Royal Manchester Artillery. Derek was much involved in the textile industry in the Manchester area. He was managing director of the Walsden Printing Company for 14 years and an officer of the trade association for cotton spinning, weaving and finishing.

Since coming to Brightwell from Wilmslow, Derek and Judith have been active in many facets of village life including the safari suppers, the village stores and the annual fete and produce show where he won the Talbot Rose Bowl on several occasions.

Derek we shall miss you very much!

John Rodda