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MBE organist plays 84 hymns on his 84th birthday to raise money for local charities

by Kelly Valencia
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The organist at Leicester's oldest church is celebrating his 84th birthday by playing 84 hymns to raise money for local and national charities.

Ian Imlay MBE has been the organist at St Nicholas Church for over 60 years.

Inspired by Captain Tom, he hopes people will support his efforts to benefit those in need and enjoy his music too.

“I was impressed with Captain Tom and wondered what I could do for my birthday and what I could offer. So I came up with 84 hymns I could play for my 84 years. I hope to see a lot of old friends and raise a bit of money for charity,” Mr Imlay said.

Donations will go towards supporting LOROS, the Rainbows Hospice and AKT a national charity that works with LGBT+ young people dealing with homelessness and debt.  St Nicholas is part of the Inclusive Church network that advocates for the full inclusion of people regardless of ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation.

Mr Imlay continued saying he was shocked at how much support he was getting already: “The money that comes in will go to all these charities and I’m surprised how much money is come in. It's hundreds of pounds. Stunning. I couldn't believe it.”

The priest at St Nicholas, Revd Canon Karen Rooms said: “Ian is a much-loved musician who has directed choirs at St Nicholas for many years dating back to when the church was the University of Leicester chaplaincy church. Ian played at graduation ceremonies for over 30 years and was made a Distinguished  Honorary Fellow of the University of Leicester in 2013 and received his MBE in 2017. We are delighted to celebrate Ian’s special day with him like this and I know he loves welcoming visitors to the church, so please join us.”


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