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Aberdeenshire church organist retires with special ceremony after 68 years of service

Rev Stella Campbell (left) with Edna Edmond and Gordon Argo, who presented the organist with a certificate from the Church of Scotland marking her 68 years of service. Wullie Marr / DCT Media
Rev Stella Campbell (left) with Edna Edmond and Gordon Argo, who presented the organist with a certificate from the Church of Scotland marking her 68 years of service. Wullie Marr / DCT Media

An Aberdeenshire church organist has been recognised for seven decades of dedicated service as she bids a final farewell to her beloved instrument.

When Edna Edmond first took the seat at the Skene Kirk organ in 1954, she thought this would be just a brief opportunity to serve the church with her music.

Born and bred in a family of musicians, Mrs Edmond took up the role as a sickness cover for three weeks at the young age of 18, when the kirk organist fell ill.

However, driven by her love for music she had continued to play at the Skene Parish Church every Sunday since – becoming an integral part of the church and her local community.

Now, the 85-year-old is celebrating 68 years of service in the House of Lords as she steps down from her life-long role.

Special service to commemorate years of dedication and contribution

At a Saturday service, church and local community members held a special presentation to commemorate Mrs Edmond’s contribution and dedication over the years.

Reverend Stella Campbell, who had been working side by side with Mrs Edmond for the last nine years at Skene Kirk, hailed the organist as “modest and very hard-working”.

She said: “There is of course a moment of sadness as Edna is stepping down, but we wanted the service to be a celebration of what she has been able to do and also a chance to say thank you to her – she has contributed so much and it’s important to recognise that.

“Edna has been a stable presence in the church and the community during her service and while many people have come and gone, she has always been here.

Rev Stella Campbell (left) with Edna Edmond (right) and the congregation marking the retirement of the organist with applause. Wullie Marr / DCT Media.

“She is a very humble and thoughtful person and has played for numerous services as well as weddings and funerals over the years, so a lot of people have many fond memories of her.

“The things that have given her most joy have been the moments when the church has been full and people have lifted the roof with their music.”

At the ceremony, the much-loved organist was presented with a certificate of recognition for her long service and a letter of congratulations from the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

As a retirement present, member of the church have also raised a total of £1,500 to be donated to the Nkhoma Hospital in Malawi, which Mrs Edmond has supported greatly for many years.

Rev Campbell added: “For all these years, Edna has served faithfully in the House of the Lord and I have no doubt that she has brought great joy to many.”

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