Musician still hitting the high notes as he reaches 101

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A distinguished musician may have reached the age of 101 – but he still goes downstairs to make his wife a cup of tea every morning!

Stephen Wilkinson MBE, who lives in Sale, also plays the piano every day, retaining the musical genius which made him one of the country’s leading choral conductors and composers.

Stephen was given a rendition of Happy Birthday from the Superheroes of Sale when they stopped by to celebrate his latest milestone.

He is a year and a day older than Colonel Tom Moore who has raised more than £30m for the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.

Stephen Wilkinson MBE pictured in 2015. Picture by Andrew Wilkinson Photography.

To mark his big day, Stephen was given a special cake and spoke via Zoom to his six children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Four of his children followed him into professional music and many of his family live abroad.

Family friend Catrin Jones, a receptionist at Williams osteopathic clinic on Marsland Road, said: “Stephen is in very good health for his age. His motto is ‘use it or lose it’ and he refuses to have a stair lift and insists on going downstairs to make his wife Delyth a cup of tea each morning.

“He had a lovely birthday and his 100th, which seemed to last four months, included a special concert of his music in Manchester. Delyth, who is 75, was a singer and that’s how they met.”

One of Stephen’s works.

Stephen was conductor of the BBC Northern Singers for more than 30 years during a long and varied career. For almost four decades he was conductor of the William Byrd Singers of Manchester, retiring from that role at 90.

In 1992 he was awarded an MBE for services to choral music. A CD selection of his choral music entitled Dover Beach was released in 2012.

He was invalided out of the Royal Navy during the war and mentioned in despatches for ‘courage and undaunted devotion to duty’ before returning to Cambridge to complete his music degree in 1946.

He is not quite the oldest man in Sale – another Ashton-on-Mersey resident will reach the age of 102 in a few weeks.

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