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Tributes paid to ‘larger than life’ Bradford organist
An organ builder and player who was a familiar face at churches across Bradford has died.
His brother-in-law Geoff Bellamy said Mr Fletcher was a big character who was “larger than life”.
“He was a person who took to music easily. He was very determined and very enthusiastic,” Mr Bellamy, of Batley, said.
“He was a chap who made a big impression. He wasn’t a quiet and shy and retiring sort. He was a typical Yorkshire man. People knew where they were with him.”
Mr Fletcher, who was born in Horsforth, started playing the organ as a teenager. It was a passion which eventually led to a 40-year career as an organ builder.
For many years he worked for Liverpool Victoria as an insurance agent, before taking a job with Abbott and Smith organ builders in Leeds.
“That’s where he trained to be an organ builder, then he started up on his own,” Mr Bellamy said.
Mr Fletcher had contracts to service and rebuild organs at many churches across the district and as far afield as Cumbria and Wales.
He never retired and had been working up until the day before the stroke last month. He also played every Sunday at the churches in Tong and Saltaire, where his funeral will be held next week.
Saltaire URC church elder Len Morris said Mr Fletcher, who was a member of The Guild of Master Craftsmen, would be sadly missed. He described a man who was always willing to help people and support church fundraising and maintenance efforts.
“He was a very generous man and always very concerned about people,” Mr Morris said.
Mr Fletcher was married for many years to Pauline who passed away, aged 69, six years ago.
Mr Morris said Mrs Fletcher was concerned about her husband being lonely after her death, so bought him a puppy, Mabel, who would quietly sit at his side while he played in Saltaire.
The couple married at St Michael and All Angels Church, across the road from their home in Shelf.
Mr Fletcher, who was 72, was also a lover of the countryside and animals.
“A lot of the churches he looked after were in the countryside in Yorkshire in the Dales,” Mr Bellamy, 58, said.
Mr Fletcher leaves brothers Ronald and David; sister, Pauline and half-sister, Christine.
- A service of Thanksgiving will be held at Saltaire URC at 10.30am, on Tuesday followed by a cremation at Nab Wood Crematorium. Donations for the Stroke Association are requested in lieu of flowers.
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