Grandfather enjoys 80-year choir career

Gazette Series: Lionel Jones at home in Cam (4225292) Lionel Jones at home in Cam (4225292)

A GRANDFATHER from Cam has celebrated reaching the milestone of having sung for his Dursley choir for 80 years.

Lionel Jones, 89, has been part of the choir for St James the Great’s Church in Dursley since January 1934.

The father of four originally lived on Uley Road in the town before moving several times around Cam and has now settled with his wife Freida in Everlands - but has always made time for the choral group since he was nine years old.

As a boy, Mr Jones had to undergo a voice test and was competing with three other youths from his Sunday school to take a vacancy on the 16-strong section of the choir for boys, describing it as “the oldest boys' club in Dursley”.

“In those days it was quite an achievement to get in a choir,” he said.

“There was always this comradeship in the group.”

A former chief design engineer for the Mawdsley Factory in Cam recounted the special outings the choir members could go on, including a visit to London Zoo and taking the steamer ferry from Bristol to Barry Island.

The grandfather of six also said it was a great experience to twice be selected to sing at the Albert Hall.

“There’s quite a lot of discipline involved in being a choir member. It has played a big part in my life.

“The major difference these days is that there are so few boys now, which is a shame.”

Choir spokesman David Wood, who himself has almost completed 70 years with the group, said: “He has served with total dedication, enthusiasm and always with a sense of humour.

“As a senior chorister it is a privilege to have this much-loved Christian gentleman still contributing to the worship of St James. Long may he continue in the choir stalls.”

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