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Culter Kirk organist had a passion for music

Organist Arthur McFarlane, who dedicated 60 years of his life to playing in north-east churches, has died aged 86.

Last night, the Rev John Ferguson, of Peterculter Parish Church, said Mr McFarlane was a man who was passionate about music and history.

Mr McFarlane, who lived close to the Central Library in Aberdeen, began playing the organ at Kinellar and Blackburn Church in 1938 before joining St Peter’s at Culter seven years later.

He stayed there until 1964 when he left to play in a city-centre church, on King Street.

However, he returned to play at St Peter’s and was then employed at Peterculter Parish Church when St Peter’s and Kelman Memorial Church united in 1999. He also played regularly at Aberdeen Crematorium – and chose it as the venue for his 80th birthday party.

“Not the usual place to do so, but that was Arthur,” said Mr Ferguson.

In addition to playing the organ, Mr McFarlane wrote plays and musicals and sponsored a number of children who wished to study music.

Mr Ferguson said: “He was a lively character and a very resilient man.”

He added that Mr McFarlane was also the choirmaster and worked with choirs for most of his life. He was a member of Culter Choral Society, the Aberdeen and District Organists’ Association and was a founder member of the St Peter’s Heritage Trust.

In addition, Mr Ferguson said it was “due to his generosity” and that of others that the former St Peter’s Church hall was bought from the Church of Scotland to become the Heritage Hall.

• Full story at the Aberdeen Press & Journal.

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