Celebrating Kathleen Ferrier’s centenary

Kathleen Ferrier
Kathleen Ferrier

An opera singer from Chorley is continuing to inspire in what would have been her 100th year.

Events are being held all over the world to mark the centenary year of Kathleen Ferrier, who was born in Higher Walton in April 1912, and who was married at Hillside Methodist Church, Brinscall.

The performer tragically died of breast cancer at just 41-years old in October 1953, after a highly fruitful career.

Her work included tours of America, Canada, Holland, and Scandinavia, as well as being able to sing for English conductor Sir Malcolm Sargent in 1942.

To celebrate the contralto’s life, work, and her impact on so many people’s lives, Hillside Methodist Church hosted a Kathleen Ferrier Commemoration.

As well as hymns, the congregation also sang some religious words to Kathleen’s most famous song ‘Blow The Wind Southerly’.

Other commemorative events are being held in places including Carlisle, London and New York.

In 1993, a society was set up in Kathleen’s name and two years ago a committee was launched to look at the various ways that her centenary year could be celebrated.

Kath Hopcroft, for Kathleen Ferrier Society, said: “We wrote to many choral societies and organisations which Kathleen had worked with during her career.

“We have co-ordinated all the events in the Diary on our website with more events coming in all the time.

“So although we did much to promote the centenary we have been overwhelmed by the amount of interest, answering enquiries on the website alone has become almost a full time occupation.

“It is wonderful that nearly 60 years after her death Kathleen Ferrier is still held in such high regard and affection. The Society has over 200 members worldwide and to each member Kathleen is very special but to know that there are so many people all over the world that feel the same is wonderful.

“But then Kathleen was very special, she always remained the down to earth, feet firmly on the ground. Everyone that ever saw Kathleen perform, never forgot it.

“Whilst hers is a wonderful story, and she rose to be one of the greatest singers of 20th Century, they say when she died she was the second most famous woman in England after the Queen.”

A stamp was issued in Kathleen’s honour on February 23.

For more information on Kathleen’s centenary year, see www.kathleenferrier.org.uk.

•Do you have memories of Kathleen Ferrier that you would like to share in her centenary year? Get in touch with Rebecca Cohen on 01257 264911 or e-mail Rebecca.Cohen@jpress.co.uk.