Tributes to MBE dad and loyal chorister Heaton Spires

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ONE of Peterborough Cathedral’s most loyal stalwarts who counted receiving an MBE among his many achievements has died at the age of 80.

The cathedral and family of Heaton Spires has paid tribute to the grandfather-of-four, after he died at his Peterborough home on Sunday following a short illness.

A funeral celebrating the life of the former head chorister will be held at the cathedral on Wednesday, March 2 at 3pm.

The devoted family man leaves behind his wife of 45 years Gill, sons Jeremy, Alex and Dominic, daughters Justine and Tamsyn and grandchildren Jacob, Chloe, George and Harry.

Yesterday, his grieving family recalled some of his proudest achievements.

Born in Peterborough in 1930, Mr Spires was awarded a choral scholarship with Peterborough Cathedral Choir at the age of ten and was educated at the King’s School.

Before leaving the choir he became head chorister and was awarded the Keeton Memorial Prize in 1946.

A keen sportsman, Mr Spires captained his hockey, cross country and athletics teams at school. He later represented the county in hockey and was presented with the England Football Association’s referee badge in 1962.

One of Mr Spires’ proudest moments came following his retirement in 1993 when he was an awarded an MBE for services to British Gas, where he had worked for 25 years. The award also commended his sporting achievements and work as governor of St John the Baptist Primary School in Leicester.

His family said he was also proud of his association with Peterborough Cathedral, firstly as a chorister and later as a committee member of the cathedral’s Old Choristers’ Association.

They said: “He was also server at the Cathedral for more than 50 years, following in the footsteps of his late father, Ted Spires.

“On many occasions there were three generations serving together, an accomplishment that was always close to his heart.”

He was proud his three sons also became head choristers at the Cathedral. His family added: “Heaton was overwhelmed when his grandson Jacob accepted a scholarship to the choir in November 2008 and Jacob will be singing in the choir at his funeral.

“More recently his grandson George was offered a choral scholarship, completing third generation choristerships.”

Reverend Bruce Ruddock, Canon Precentor at Peterborough Cathedral, said: “Throughout his life, Heaton was a deeply committed and loyal member of the Cathedral community. He was meticulous in everything he did and thoroughly disciplined in all his work here.

“We extend our deepest sympathy to his family – who continue to serve the life of the Cathedral with equal dedication.”