A choral singer and a character

Pictured at his home on Mansfield Drive, Intake, Sheffield is Mr George Swindells. He is Sheffield's oldest singer at 89, still a member of three choirs.

Pictured at his home on Mansfield Drive, Intake, Sheffield is Mr George Swindells. He is Sheffield's oldest singer at 89, still a member of three choirs.

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SHEFFIELD has lost one of its best-known choral singers and characters.

George Swindells, who died on his 94th birthday, was remembered at a packed memorial service at Victoria Hall.

He was a lifelong member of Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus, Sheffield Bach Choir and Dore Male Voice Choir and all three were heavily represented.

“George would have been proud of the singing of his choirs today,” said Jackie Wood, a Sheffield Chorale member and kindred spirit.

She added: “He had a prodigious memory of the concerts he took part in and could recall, seemingly at will, details of a particular concert which would come up in conversation. He knew who the soloists were, and if they were any good!”

He also had a fund of Sir John Barbirolli anecdotes, or JB as he always referred to him. Strangely, they never palled no matter how many times repeated!

George had an enormous archive of programmes, reviews and other memorabilia, the largest covering Philharmonic Chorus concerts in which he sang – 433 at the last count!

His prodigious memory never dimmed with age, nor did his powerful bass-baritone voice.

“We shall miss him,” said Jackie. “He was unique.”

George, who joined the Philharmonic Chorus in 1947, lived with his late sister in Skye Edge before moving to Holly Bank sheltered housing complex off Mansfield Road. He never married, but had a long term relationship with chorus member Frances Lavender (nee Styring). The funeral was at City Road crematorium.