On August 14th at West Park URC in Harrogate, a service was held as part of the Gilbert & Sullivan Festival which is an annual event in the town. A congregation of over 100 came from across the country and an augmented choir was directed by West Park’s organist David Wilberforce who organised the service. It was led by Rev Dr Ian Bradley, Emeritus Professor of Cultural and Spiritual History at The University of St Andrews and featured a number of Sir Arthur Sullivan’s hymn tunes including Bishopgarth and St. Gertrude (Onward Christian Soldiers). Rev. Bradley told the congregation that the origin of St. Gertrude was somewhat unusual. Sullivan was staying at the home of Gertrude Clay-Ker-Seymer in Hanford, Dorset when he composed the tune and decided on the name there and then.
The singing as one might expect was of the highest order and a most uplifting and memorable service was enjoyed by all.
For more information on West Park URC, visit Harrogate West Park United Reformed Church (harrogatewestparkurc.org.uk)