THE funeral of prominent Saddleworth musical figure Donald Clarke who has passed away at the age of 82 is to take place next Thursday (May 23).

Donald lived all his life in Uppermill. He studied the violin at Oldham Lyceum School of Music with Ernest Craig and later Martin Milner, head of the Halle Orchestra.

He worked for 41 years for the NatWest Bank, running branches in Delph, Greenfield Mossley and Uppermill, but it was for his music he was best known locally.

He performed hundreds of concerts for a huge range of societies in the North West and even performed in front of the Queen.

Donald was a member of Saddleworth Musical Society for more than 55 years, first performing with them in 1961 and then become leader of the society’s orchestra in 1972 until 2016.

He was made vice president of Saddleworth Male Voice choir in December, 2011.

In 2017, the choir played their 55th consecutive performance of the Messiah, and due to health reasons, this was the last time Donal played it, as leader of the West Pennine Orchestra.

It was his 36th consecutive performance with his friends in the male voice choir.

Donald was also a member of the Telemann Baroque Ensemble, formed in 1977 and comprising both professional and gifted amateur musicians who met for the sheer delight of exploring Baroque music.

They appeared at the Saddleworth Festival on a number of occasions together in venues like Manchester Cathedral, National Trust properties and the Halle clubs.

Donald was honorary president of the Northern Baroque Orchestra and was also its leader for 30 years.

He was also a active member and trustee of Saddleworth Festival of Arts, and an active member and trustee of the British Red Cross in Greater Manchester. Donal was a member of Saddleworth Rotary Club and a governor of Saddleworth School.

His funeral service takes place at the Church of St Chad, in Uppermill at 1pm on Thursday, May 23.