Whitby's Jim Muir celebrates 80 years of playing the organ in special service at Grosmont church

A Whitby man celebrated 80 years of playing the organ in a special service at St Matthew’s Church in Grosmont.

By Louise Perrin
Friday, 6th May 2022, 11:27 am
Updated Friday, 6th May 2022, 11:28 am

Jim Muir, 92, began performing at the age of 12 and over the past eight decades, has regularly performed at churches in Commondale, Goathland and Grosmont.

He has also deputised at other churches across the Esk Valley including Westerdale Methodist Church, St Joseph’s RC in Pickering and even spent some time playing at three churches in Manitoba, Canada.

Mr Muir, who was born and brought up in Commondale, first played during a Local Savings Week in 1941/42 in Castleton, at an event to raise money to ‘adopt’ a Spitfire.

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Whitby's Jim Muir, 92, who has been playing the organ for 80 years. 221509a

He said: “My mother taught me to play and then I had lessons from when I was nine.

“She played piano and I took over playing the organ from her at Commondale.

“I played at a lot of dances, 167 in one year.

"That was the entertainment after the war in the late 1940s, early 1950s.

“I played every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and we all used to go.

"I played at Pickering Memorial Hall at the Young Farmers’ Ball.”

Mr Muir, who spent his working life as a farmer, was a member of John Muir’s band alongside his father who played the drums and brother who played the piano accordion.

When asked if he will ever retire, Mr Muir offered a wry smile and said: “I don’t know, nobody wants to be tied down, but I enjoy it, it’s a great lifter is music.

“You sit down and play and you forget all your worries and problems.”