‘Larger than life’ Longridge chorister dies

Owen Kennedy receiving his award for 70 years as a chorister.
Owen Kennedy receiving his award for 70 years as a chorister.
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Longridge said farewell to a parishioner and chorister held in great affection in the town at his funeral last Thursday.

Owen Kennedy, who was 84, faced his final illness with great courage, putting together the words and music for the service held in a packed St Paul’s Church.

In the eulogy given by his son David, based on words written by Owen himself including that he had had “a great life,“ he was remembered as “a reliable strong man, a commanding presence, larger than life, forever youthful, always cheerful, so encouraging, he made everyone he met feel that little bit taller.”

A large part of his life was singing, in church, cathedral and secular choirs and groups since the age of seven, a total of 77 years up to leaving the parish choir – for which he was choirmaster for 17 years – less than two months ago. Itwas augmented for his funeral with members of two county choirs with which he had long membership, Blackburn Cathedral’s Renaissance Singers and the Avenham Singers from Preston.

He had also sung in 21 different cathedrals including five years at Ripon Cathedral, where he became Tenor Layclerk, and five years at Waltham Abbey.

Owen Kennedy was born in Newcastle-on-Tyne, the area he met his wife Stella, and they married in Gillingham, eventually moving north with their family of three. He taught maths in schools and colleges and became Lancashire County Maths Adviser.

A true family man who was always part of the annual extended family holidays at Center Parcs, he is survived by his wife, three children, nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren.