Warm tributes have been paid to a popular church organist who lost his battle with cancer at the end of January.
John Hardcastle, organist at Woodkirk Parish Church for five years, had been diagnosed with the illness last October.
Mr Hardcastle was a much loved figure in the community and had recently raised £20,000 for a new electronic organ for the church.
The Rev Amanda Barraclough, vicar of Woodkirk, said: “John has been far more than a musician at St Mary’s. He has been a worshipper – his heart was in the music, not for its own sake, but for the sake of the Lord he loves.”
She said that Mr Hardcastle ran the Horsforth community minibus, and was responsible for the acquisition of a new vehicle, which he regularly drove to take the elderly to the shops or out for trips. He was also a local councillor.
“His faith inspired him to make a difference to others,” said Mrs Barraclough.
“You don’t get many church organists who give as much as John gave to us.
“We are going to miss him, and not just for the organ playing.
“John asked to come and see me some five years ago, following the decision of our previous organist, Richard Quarmby, to take an organist’s post nearer to home.
“It has to be said that at that point, what we offered by way of an instrument to play was not St Mary’s greatest selling point!
“Our failing pipe organ was not one likely to attract an aspiring musician, unless they liked a challenge!
“Our prayers are with Adrienne (his wife) and all his family at this time.”