Church organist was much loved

Laurence Bradley receiving his long-service award at Southlands Hospital
Laurence Bradley receiving his long-service award at Southlands Hospital

Popular pianist and church organist Laurence Bradley died last week, aged 86.

Having lived in Shoreham for 50 years, Laurence had a wide circle of friends and was best known as an organist at St Peters Church, in West Street, where he played for many years, stopping only a few years ago due to ill health.

He gave organ and piano recitals at the church and also played the organ at St Mary de Haura Church.

Born in Clydebank, Scotland, in 1926, Laurence moved away with his family when his father lost his job working in the shipyards for Babcock.

Nephew Ian Bradley said the move was fortunate, as their old house and all the others around it were wiped out in the Second World War.

Laurence went to school in Glasgow then studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, attending at the same time as actor Stanley Baxter.

He moved to London during the war, where he studied under eminent pianist Professor Harold Craxton at the Royal Academy of Music.

Laurence went on to play regularly at concerts in Fulham Town Hall, was a pianist for the youth club at Westminster Hall and played organ at a number of churches, including Westminster Cathedral.

Music remained the centre of his life in Shoreham, where he lived in Hebe Road for many years, before moving to sheltered housing in Upper Shoreham Road about 20 years ago.

Entering Brighton and Worthing Music Festivals as a pianist from 1985 onwards, Laurence won first prize on a number of occasions but then decided to stop taking part.

Ian recalled: “He was quite a modest man. He said ‘I am going to play for pleasure now’, as if to give someone else a chance.”

Laurence played and taught the violin and was in the Lancing Orchestra. He was also pianist for the Shoreham Oratorio Choir.

A regular volunteer at Southlands Hospital, he received a long-service award in 2006 for 20 years’ service.

“We remember him as a gentle, kind man,” added Ian. “He had a wide circle of friends who were devoted to him.”

The funeral service will be held at Worthing Crematorium on Friday, February 1, at 11.40am. Contact HD Tribe on 01903 234516 for details.