Ian Cockerline celebrates 50 years as Cottingham church organist
THE organist at Cottingham Methodist Church has celebrated his 50th year in the role.
Ian Cockerline, 68, was deputy organist in 1962 when his predecessor left the top post.
According to a church newsletter from the time, he was promoted temporarily until the church decided on a new permanent musician.
But Mr Cockerline has been in charge of the organ ever since.
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In 1978, Mr Cockerline oversaw the replacement of the church's organ.
It was changed because of major building work.
"It used to be a big church with a downstairs and upstairs gallery," Mr Cockerline said.
"Then in the church's centenary we altered it. We put a floor in and put the church upstairs where the gallery was."
The ground floor became a hall and its organ had to go.
"The organ was right in the way so we purchased the redundant organ out of St Augustine's Church in Hull," Mr Cockerline said. "That was rebuilt into a pipe organ.
"It's a much brighter sound with much more scope than the old one used to have."
The instrument is still as good as ever.
"In those days everyone was thinking of putting electric pipeless organs in churches," he said.
"The whole cost of our one was less than an electric one. But it's still going strong."
The musician plays in Cottingham every Sunday.
But his career has taken him to far bigger venues.
Mr Cockerline has performed at Hull City Hall, Beverley Minster and at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
He plays there about once every three years to raise money for Cancer Research UK, with a choir of 1,500 and two brass bands.
"They first asked if I would like to play there in 1990," Mr Cockerline said.
"Your knees turn to jelly, but that was an experience of a lifetime."
Last time Mr Cockerline played, the concert raised £150,000.
"It gives you the thrill of how much money it raises for a worthy cause," he said.
Mr Cockerline has no plans to stop performing.
"Organists carry on until they can't," he said. "It's a sitting-down job so it's not that bad. I wouldn't say I've got another 50 years but I will play for as long as possible."