Tributes as church organist dies aged 83

TRIBUTES PAID: Ted Barron with his wife Margaret.
TRIBUTES PAID: Ted Barron with his wife Margaret.
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A TALENTED organist heard by hundreds of people at decades of theatre shows and church services has died after collapsing at a gym.

Ted Barron, 83, of Seaham, played the instrument from the age of 14 after being taught by his father Jack, who played at the town’s Enfield Road Independent Methodist Church.

He went on to serve as its treasurer and choir leader and had been due to mark his 70th year there this year.

Ted also spent time as a musical director of Murton, Seaham and Vane Tempest amateur operatic societies and played piano and conducted for Seaham Youth Theatre.

Football was another passion of his, and he had been a season ticket holder at Sunderland for more than 50 years.

He was also a keen gardener and a member of Seaham Environmental Association.

He and wife Margaret, 77, were frequent walkers and members of the Bannatyne gym in Chester-le-Street, where Ted fell ill and died.

Raised in Murton, he attended Ryhope Grammar School and Sunderland’s Technical College, spending his career at his village pit as a mining surveyor.

His son Phil, 47, said: “He was a sensitive, unassuming, gentle man, shy in public but with a wonderful sense of humour and greatly valued by family, friends and all those he helped musically.”

Ted also leaves daughter Linda Ibbott, 51, and Phil’s daughter Elise, four.

Friend Margaret Keen said: “It was a privilege to know Ted. He was both a gentleman and a gentle man in both senses of the word.”

Her husband Arthur added: “He was one of the finest men to put on a pair of shoes. He was a leader in his field as a working-class gentleman.”

His funeral will be held at Christ Church in Station Road, Seaham, tomorrow at 11.45am, followed by a cremation in Durham at 1pm.