Stalwart organist chalks up 40 years in the hot seat

Sylvia Caunt
Sylvia Caunt

LIKE the Queen, who is enjoying her landmark Diamond Jubilee this year, Hucknall resident Sylvia Caunt is ‘one special lady’.

And just as the monarch has much to celebrate in 2012, so does Sylvia, including achieving the notable feat of clocking up 40 years as organist at Hucknall’s Farleys Grove United Reformed Church.

During the country’s summer of celebration, which also includes the upcoming Olympics, Sylvia (70), of Farleys Lane, is enjoying several milestones of her own.

A familiar face in the local community, she was born on Farleys Lane. In fact she still lives in the same home where she was brought up by her dad, Albert, a miner, and mum Emily, who was a tailoress, and she set up home there with her late husband, Joe.

Blessed with a son, Daniel, and two grandchildren, Sylvia formed a lasting friendship with Sandra Trayford, which began 50 years ago this year. Sandra has lived with her for the past 37 years and is godmother to Daniel.

A former Co-op employee, Sylvia said: “I am pleased to say that for the past 20 years I have never missed a service.Thankfully, I have not been ill in that time and I’ve not had a holiday either.

“Playing on the original organ was quite challenging, calling upon all your skills. The newer organ has everything, including whistles and bells, and it is much easier to play. It is like sitting at the cockpit of an aeroplane.”

A Christian Aid organiser, Sylvia will be remembered for the 20 years she spent at Beardall Street Primary School, Hucknall, where she served both as a midday supervisor and as a ‘lollipop lady’.

One of the great ambassadors for Hucknall and district, she serves on the committee of the town’s Council of Churches. While everyone who knows Sylvia admires her many qualities, she regards herself as ‘just another ordinary person’.

Members of her church and people who know her well are agreed that Sylvia is far from that.

She is one of Hucknall’s unsung heroes, a special lady with a big heart.

(PHOTO AND STORY BY: Peter Jordan).