Choirmaster’s delight over BEM

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SPALDING Parish Church organist and choirmaster Nick Pitts was awarded the BEM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Former teacher Nick (56), from Pinchbeck, was surprised and delighted to be nominated.

He said: “I feel as though I am really receiving the award on behalf of the whole choir. Obviously they have nominated me but I feel in a way the award is for all of us and not just for me.”

The Vicar of Spalding, the Rev John Bennett, said: “Nick has been organist and choirmaster at St Mary and St Nicolas for 31 years. The choir is one of less than 40 in parish churches of boys and men.

“Nick has a wonderful gift for encouraging boys from disadvantaged backgrounds to be members of the church choir. They gain hugely in confidence. For some it is one of the few areas where they feel a sense of pride or achievement.

“Six boys have recently passed The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) Bishop’s award and they will be given their awards in Lincoln in October.”

Spalding born Nick was educated at the parish church day school and Spalding Grammar School.

After qualifying as a teacher, he returned to the parish day school and taught there for about 25 years.

These days he’s well known as a co-founder of The Burtey Fen Collection, a privately owned music hall at Pinchbeck, and for organ building.

Nick is likely to receive his BEM in Lincolnshire from the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire and go to Buckingham Palace at a later date.

He said: “I am absolutely thrilled. It will be wonderful to go to Buckingham Palace. I never dreamed in all my years that I would go inside and have the possibility of seeing the Queen fairly close.”

Nick, a single man, has two sisters, Rachel and Sue, and says “they are absolutely thrilled” about the award.

l Spalding historian Michael Elsden is celebrating after his cousin, Peter Sharp, was awarded the OBE. Former Spalding Grammar School pupil Peter is professor of medical physics at the University of Aberdeen and has been recognised for services to healthcare science.