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Warm tributes to 'true gent' and top musician Harry Duckworth

Harry and Mary Duckworth at a 2016 tea dance at St Andrew's Church Hall, Longton.
Harry and Mary Duckworth at a 2016 tea dance at St Andrew's Church Hall, Longton.
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One of Preston’s famous musical sons has died after a glittering transatlantic career.

Harry Duckworth from Hutton – whose name is immortalised in windows at Preston railway station along with the likes of Sir Tom Finney – passed away after a successful career in the music industry.

Harry Duckworth was conductor of the Preston Orpheus Choir from 1979 to 2012.

Harry Duckworth was conductor of the Preston Orpheus Choir from 1979 to 2012.

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Starting out as Music Master and Choir Director at Preston Catholic College in 1966 - 78, Harry led the college's boys choir on six tours of the United States.

Southport-born Harry then had a break from the vocals, taking up the role of organist at Fulwood Methodist Church for 25 years.

He also conducted the Preston Orpheus Choir for 33 years from 1979 to 2012 alongside his choir leading wife of 57 years, Mary Duckworth.

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Mary fondly remembers when they first met when she was working as a music teacher at Hartshill School in Warwickshire.

“We met when I was playing piano,” Mary recalled. “He was introduced to me as the new music master of the school and the rest is history, as they say.

"We spent many happy hours playing piano duets together.

“I have had that many cards all saying what a true gentleman he was. He was such a wonderful husband.”

Harry spent time training at Yorkshire’s Bretton Hall College and London’s Royal Academy of Music, where he spent hours perfecting piano and studying theory.

He retired in 1992 but continued to perform until a month before he passed away in the early hours of Easter Sunday, aged 85.

• Harry’s funeral is at 2pm on Thursday (April 19) at Fulwood Methodist Church.