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Organist still going strong after 66 years

PUBLISHED: 10:48 20 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:52 02 July 2010

When organist Diana Webdale made her debut performances, the church windows were still being blacked out at night for fear of attracting Nazi bombers.

But during decades of change which followed those dark wartime days, one thing remained constant for her Norfolk congregations.

When organist Diana Webdale made her debut performances, the church windows were still being blacked out at night for fear of attracting Nazi bombers.

But during decades of change which followed those dark wartime days, one thing remained constant for her Norfolk congregations.

And the sprightly musician was rewarded for 66 years of faithful service as she celebrated her 80th birthday on Sunday.

Miss Webdale's audience at Little Walsingham Methodist Church was twice its usual size as the chapel swelled with well-wishers.

In a surprise addition to the regular service, she was given a long-service certificate from the Methodist Church Music Society, a birthday cake and a brooch in the shape of a treble clef.

Miss Webdale began her career as 14-year-old Sunday school pianist along the coast at Wells Methodist Church, where she was christened alongside her late twin brother Gerald.

She still plays regularly at both Wells and Walsingham - and has no plans to retire just yet.

“I was told about an organist on the Methodist circuit somewhere, who was 100 years old and still playing,” she said. “It is certainly something I am aiming for. I just want to keep on playing.”

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