Memorial service for Sunderland musical doyen

Rupert Hanson
Rupert Hanson
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THE life of Sunderland music man Rupert Hanson will be celebrated at a special service on Sunday.

On the eve of the third anniversary of his death, those whose lives were touched by the musician will gather for a special service. Rupert lost his battle with cancer aged 73,

The music virtuoso, who rose from humble beginnings in Sunderland’s East End and went on to travel the world and perform for royalty, played a huge role in the city’s music scene.

He was the founder of Sunderland Symphony Orchestra, along with a series of other musical projects and left behind a lasting legacy to the city when he died.

Rupert’s daughter Liz Scott, 40, said: “The Worship Centre, Youth Orchestra, Sing-a-Long Chorus and Sunderland Symphony Orchestra are still all going strong under their new leaders.

“Mum, my brothers and I and his grandchildren still miss him incredibly, but we are blessed by the legacy he left.”

Following in Rupert’s footsteps is Liz’s son Samuel, seven, and her brother Mile’s daughter Jessica, five, who are shining in music and performing arts.

“Samuel is doing extremely well musically,” Liz said. “He is learning the cornet and guitar at Highfield School as well as singing with the school choir.

“He has even given a couple of small concerts during morning worship at St Aidan’s. He’s a real chip off his granddad’s block.

“Jessica is thriving at drama school and we expect great things from her too.

“Mam still sings with the Sing-a-Long chorus and tells me there isn’t a week that goes by where everyone remembers Dad by reminiscing about performances they gave at The Sage, Sunderland Empire and around the country.

“They had some really special times.”

Rupert was born in Cumberland Terrace, in the East End, and developed a strong love of music from an early age.

A teacher at James William Street School spotted his talents and as a teenager he joined Sunderland Choral Society.

He left behind wife Valerie children, Liz, Miles, 41, and Mark, 35, and grandchildren, Jessica, Samuel, Jay, 14, Naomie, six, and Phoebe, three.

Sunday’s free service at St Aidan’s Worship Centre, in Herrington, takes place from 10.30am and all are welcome.

It will be led by Malcolm Adamson, with David McCourt, of Sunderland Symphony Orchestra, and Samuel performing.

Twitter: @sunechochief