Death of well-known Uppermill musician and former bank manager Donald Clarke 1937 – 2019

THE funeral has taken place of one of Saddleworth’s best known and most talented musicians.

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke, who died on April 27, aged 82, studied the violin at Oldham Lyceum School of Music with Ernest Craig and later Martin Milner, former head of the Halle Orchestra.

He resisted pressure from his teachers to become a professional musician and for many years was regarded as the leading amateur violinist in the area.

Donald, who lived all his life in Uppermill, was a member of Saddleworth Musical Society for more than 55 years, becoming leader in 1972 through to 2016.

In December 2011, he became vice president of Saddleworth Male Voice Choir highly regarded for its performances of the Messiah.

In 2017, the choir played its 55th consecutive performance but due to health reasons this was the last time Donald played the Messiah as leader of the West Pennine Orchestra.

It was his 36th consecutive performance with his Male Voice Choir friends. Donald, who attended Uppermill Primary School and Hulme Grammar, was also a member of the Telemann Baroque Ensemble which was formed in 1977.

Additionally, Donald was honorary president of the Northern Baroque Orchestra and also the leader of this orchestra for 30 years.

He performed in hundreds of concerts for a huge range of societies in the North West and the surrounding areas.

Donald was also known by thousands of Saddleworth bank customers as manager of Uppermill NatWest with responsibility for former branches at Greenfield, Delph and Mossley.

He joined the District Bank in September 1952 and was appointed assistant area manager for Manchester in 1974. Five years later, he became manager of Uppermill branch.

After 41 year’s service with the NatWest and constituent banks he retired in October 1993.

Donald, whose funeral took place at St Chad’s Church on Thursday, May 23, undertook a variety of voluntary work throughout his life.

He was an active member/trustee of Saddleworth Festival of the Arts, the British Red Cross, Saddleworth Rotary Club and a Saddleworth School governor for more than 30 years.

Donald was also a life member of Lancashire Cricket Club.

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