A FORMER director of music at Bury Parish Church, described as a teacher with a “natural gift for inspiring young people” has been honoured for his services to education.
David Kemp, who was head of music at Castlebrook High School for six years, was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.
The 55-year-old, originally from Northamptonshire, moved to Bury in 1999 and has worked as a teacher for 34 years — he recently celebrated 100 terms of teaching.
Mr Kemp is now deputy headteacher of a secondary school in Herefordshire.
He developed a flourishing choir during his time as master of the choristers at Bury Parish Church.
Living in Hampshire Close, Bury, between 1999 and 2005, he led the choir in Worcester Cathedral and Chester Cathedral and was the church’s resident organist, playing weekly.
Mr Kemp trained at the Trinity College of Music in London and taught in in London and Brighton before he moved to the borough, where he also taught part-time at Bury Church School.
He said: “Music is something that has been important to me since the age of three or four, from learning the recorder and clarinet, which then developed on to playing the piano and organ.
“It has always been a major part of my life and it is great to be able to pass that on.
“Students I taught at Castlebrook went on to careers in music and it is always nice to see pupils following on in your loves and passions.”
Mr Kemp will be making the trip to Buckingham Palace to receive his honour with his 84-year-old mother and other family members.
He said: “Receiving the nomination was a great honour. I knew in the middle of November, but it came completely out of the blue — I thought it was a letter from the taxman.”
Now inspiring pupils at Queens Elizabeth Humanities College in Bromyard, Mr Kemp said he has no idea who nominated him for the MBE.
He moved to Herefordshire in 2005, drawn by a lifelong ambition to be close to Worcester — birthplace of composer Edward Elgar.
Mr Kemp said: “I had very happy times at Castlebrook but had known Worcestershire and Elgar since I was at music college. I always dreamt I would one day end up in this part of the world, close to the Malvern Hills.”
Dr John Findon, the Rector of Bury Parish Church, paid homage to a gifted man who came to the job of director of music “almost by accident”.
Dr Findon said: “In October, 1998, our previous choir master’s sight was fading and we needed to find a replacement.
“David’s application came out of the blue and it was a long way for him to move, but he decided to take the position in the end.
“He is exceptional — a very gifted individual who has a natural gift for inspiring young people. While at Bury Parish Church he was terrific and worked extremely hard.
“By all accounts he went down to Bromyard and has repeated the magic again.”