World War II veteran dedicates 80 years to the organ
Published on 17 August 2023 1 minute read
A 99-year-old organist, who has been playing for 80 years, has been awarded a certificate in honour of his longstanding service to the Church.
Mr Glan Jones, the principal organist at Lochend and New Abbey Church, said he has no plans to retire as his 100th birthday approaches next year.
Born in South Wales in 1924 to a Baptist family, Mr Jones' father taught him to play, build, and repair the organ.
In 1943, as the North African Campaign was nearing its conclusion, Mr Jones joined the King's Shropshire Light Infantry. After serving in North Africa, he participated in the Anzio Landings in Italy and fought all the way up to Bologna.
It was during his time in the army that he left his Baptist denomination – to become Anglican.
"I changed to Anglican mainly because of the music," he said.
After leaving the army in 1948, he stayed in Birmingham building church organs.
In 1966 he moved up to Scotland to Kippford, near Dalbeattie in the south west, where he still lives today.
There, he played at the local Scottish Episcopal Church for four months.
Then, Mr Jones had been invited to try the organ at the Church of Scotland Castle Douglas Parish Church.
"I was asked if I'd like to play the organ once and so I went and tried the organ, it was quite good," he said.
"Better than the one the other church had!"
From then he has stuck with the Church of Scotland, playing in every parish he has attended.
"Every denomination has something good about it," he said.
"The Anglicans, the Catholics, and the Church of Scotland all have good music."
In 1988, he was invited to move to Dalbeattie Parish Church in 1988, where he was appointed organist and choirmaster. In 2015, he moved to Lochend and New Abbey Church, where he still remains as organist.
In total, Mr Jones has been playing for the Church of Scotland for over 60 years, and playing in total for over 80 years, having started when he was 14.
Despite being a near centenarian, Mr Jones plays for his congregation every Sunday, as well performing for weddings and funerals.
On the 14th May this year, a day after his 99th birthday, Lochend and New Abbey Church presented Mr Jones with a long service certificate in recognition of his dedication to the Church.