Music teacher is remembered

Mary Pearse
Mary Pearse

A MUSIC teacher who regularly appeared alongside choirs at the Hastings Musical Festival has died.

Mary Pearse was laid to rest on Monday during a touching serviceat Hastings Crematorium which was well-attended by many of her former colleagues and pupils.

Born in Harrow, Middlesex, in 1924, she began teaching music in Hastings in 1948 after studying at the Royal Academy of Music.

She was director of music at Hollington Park School in St Leonards and later filled the same role at Bedgebury School – enjoying a string of successes with choir and orchestras at the Hastings Musical Festival.

On her retirement from school life in 1984, she continued to teach the piano privately and became a volunteer helper at the Hastings Musical Festival as well as being an important part of the Hastings Philharmonic Choir and chairman of the Hastings branch of the Incorporated Society of Musicians.

A member of Holy Trinity Church for more than 50 years, she served in the choir and as an assistant organist and became a popular member of the congregation.

Among those who paid tribute to her at her funeral was former pupil Errollyn Wallen MBE – now a distinguished composer in her own right.

She said: “Mary Pearse was my formative music teacher and I owe her so much.

“She instilled ideals in me to which I still try to aspire. Dedication, discipline and a striving towards excellence were what mattered so much to her.

“Never showy or loud, she commanded respect through her remarkable and quiet self-possession.

“I will miss her profoundly.”

And Molly Townson, chairman of the Hastings Musical Festival, added: “Mary was a lovely woman and a talented musician who will be sorely missed.”