Gaywood church tribute to chorister Olwyn recorded for TV’s Songs of Praise

Olwyn Barber is celebrating her 70th year membership of St Faith's Choir at Gaywood Church with a special service.
She is with other Choir members and Rev Julie Boyd (far right).
Olwyn Barber is celebrating her 70th year membership of St Faith's Choir at Gaywood Church with a special service. She is with other Choir members and Rev Julie Boyd (far right).

A special service at a West Norfolk church marking a chorister’s 70-year membership is to be featured on the BBC’s Songs of Praise.

A film crew were at St Faith’s Church at Gaywood on Sunday to record the special service in honour of Olwyn Barber’s 70 years as a choir member.

Before and after the service, Songs of Praise presenter, the Rev Kate Bottley, who joined the congregation for the service, did filmed interviews with the Rector of St Faith’s, the Rev Julie Boyd, Richard Parr and Juanita Hawthorn and other members of the congregation.

They all spoke of Olwyn’s remarkable dedicated service to God and St Faith’s over seven decades. Olwyn, of Gaywood, spoke about her love of singing and of St Faith’s Church during a filmed interview the previous day.

At the service of Morning Prayer, during which some of Olwyn’s favourite hymns were sung, the Rev Boyd presented Olwyn with a letter of congratulations and appreciation for her long and faithful service from the Bishop of Lynn, the Rt Rev Jonathan Meyrick.

She was also presented with a long service certificate from the Royal School of Church Music to which St Faith’s choir is an affiliated member.

After the service, during a reception in the church rooms, Olwyn said she had thoroughly enjoyed her special service. She cut a celebration cake made for her by fellow choir member, Sue Benstead.

“When I first joined the choir as a 12-year-old schoolgirl, I never imagined that I would still be singing in the choir 70 years later. Singing and being a part of the choir has been a joy of my life.

“It has been a wonderful service of celebration and thanksgiving today.

“I would like to sincerely thank the rector, my fellow choir members, organist, Jonathan Chaddock, choir master, Roger Darbishire, and St Faith’s congregation for making my service such a lovely and memorable day for me,” she said.

Excerpts from Olwyn’s service are due to be included in a Sunday afternoon episode of Songs of Praise to be screened in the next few weeks.