Organist David Lammier, accompanied by his guide dog Lizzie and guests, will complete a 12 hour organathon to raise money for Margate’s St John’s Church and Guide Dogs for the Blind.
The challenge will take place at the church on Saturday, September 17 between 10am and 10pm as part of the national English Heritage Open Day events. The Open Days theme this year is ‘Astounding Inventions.’
David, from Birchington, will play the church pipe organ and celebrate his 30 years as an organist.
David is an exceptionally gifted organist who has given recitals in Rochester, Liverpool and Chester cathedrals. He is supported by Lizzie, his fourth guide dog.
David is keen to encourage others to discover organ playing for themselves – so there will be a chance for musicians to arrange in advance to “have a go.” David also has links with local schools and will be encouraging the next generation of organists.
He said: “I am looking forward to celebrating 30 years as organist at St John’s, Margate, on September 17, when visitors will have the opportunity to hear our magnificent pipe organ played throughout the day.
“Blind from birth, I was encouraged to take piano lessons at an early age, and although sometimes I tried to get out of it, it really did become my passion and I live to play music now.
“I studied piano and organ at Dorton House School for the Blind, at Seal, Sevenoaks (now sadly closed) before becoming involved with electronics at West Kent College. For a time I was second assistant organist at St. Paul’s Church, Northumberland Heath, Erith, before becoming organist at St. Paul’s Church, Cliftonville. I became organist at St. John’s, Margate, in the 1990s.
“I have given a number of recitals over the years, including Rochester Cathedral and Chester Cathedral. I had the excitement of taking part in the Liverpool Cathedral organ experience back in 2015 and gave a lunchtime recital there in September 2018.
“I have also been Musical Director for several amateur dramatic groups in the Thanet area, as well as assisting in the Music Department at Upton Junior School and entertaining all over the Thanet area.
“My beautiful black Labrador companion, of course, has to come with me. Lizzie sits by my side and listens to me play. She is extremely friendly and well-trained. I cover all of the Thanet area and beyond with her help. Lizzie is my fourth Guide Dog – I have very happy memories of Heathcliff, Jemma and Parker who have been by my side throughout my musical career.
“I am excited by the challenge of September’s Organathon, which I see as an important opportunity to share my love of the organ with others. The chance to raise money for my church and Guide Dogs for the Blind at the same time makes me very proud.”
The pipe organ will be played throughout the day and visitors to the church are welcome to drop in and enjoy the performances. Entry is free.
David has support from a fellow organist and friend, Tim Attride from All Saints Birchington, who will help with the technical aspects of the day including tuning the organ in advance.
Parts of the church date back to 1050 and points of interest include a Tudor font, an exceptional collection of 18th Century hatchments (coats of arms carried in funeral processions) and many memorial tablets with notable local names.
The pop up café will be offering refreshments throughout the day and visitors may want to book an afternoon tea for 1pm, 2.30pm or 4pm, or a Fish and Chip Supper for 7pm.
Afternoon tea is £5 per head and fish and chips is £8 per head and can be booked through [email protected]
There are opportunities to sponsor the organists and to donate to request pieces of music as well as a sale of CDs, vinyl and sheet music. Keyboard players who would love to try the organ for themselves are welcome to contact [email protected] to arrange the chance to play a short piece of music between the main organ recitals.
All money raised will be split between St John’s Church and Guide Dogs for the Blind.
The regular monthly pop up charity shop will also be taking place in the Community Centre next door during the morning.