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Kinnerton Chapel Organist Celebrates 94th

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Doris Roberts, Steward and longtime organist at Kinnerton Methodist Chapel turned ninety-four recently and as remarkable an achievement as her years thus far, is her service to congregants at the remote, rural chapel. Doris took on the organist role when her aunt Annie Corfield's sickness, then hospitalisation, meant she never returned to the organist post she had held for sixty-eight years.

Following her birthday which was celebrated with friends and family, Doris shared her knowledge of Kinnerton's history with the Green Sock. She recalled as a child making the journey from their roadside house at Upper Mill to worship at Kinnerton Chapel with her parents, brother, and sister. The family's Methodist roots ensured Doris always went to chapel. "It used to be full, and everyone had their seat, siting in the same place every week. I got used to going there every Sunday. We used to go up in a horse and trap. There was a house just below, where Dad would leave the horse."

Kinnerton Chapel was newly built in 1929, due a fire at a local army hut, which was until then, the Methodist's original, formal meeting place. "There were a lot of Methodists then. They used to meet at each other's houses, but they became too many," Doris reminisced, adding that the neighbouring families of chapel members raised the funds to build the brick building. Both Doris's grandfather and uncle were Lay Preachers. Her aunt taught her to play the organ, teaching her to play only hymns, on the same Kinnerton Chapel organ that she played until recently, when the chapel acquired a keyboard so Doris would no longer have to grapple with pedals. Well-known and well-respected for her life-long service to Kinnerton Chapel, for years Doris has also been famed for the popular, annual Sunday Lunch with Songs of Praise, at the Norbury Village Hall, which she organised, promoted and cooked for, with a team of helpers. When her aunt went to hospital and asked Doris to stand in, she had thought the arrangement temporary, but it continued for over thirty years. "I enjoyed playing the organ. I think it's because I was young when I started," she said. Along with her siblings, Doris's care for Kinnerton Chapel continued through teenage into adulthood. Her brother George, who died in 2012, helped with odd jobs and grass cutting. Doris's sister Mary assisted with fundraising and preparing the weekly Sunday Lunch the chapel offered.

As a married woman living in Myndtown, under the Long Mynd, Doris occasionally visited Kinnerton Chapel, for special services. "I would go and help Mum decorate the chapel for Harvest Services. I fell into playing the organ in my aunt's place, and I did it until I was ninety. I'm still Steward but now I don't have anything to do with getting the chapel ready. I write the Service Sheets from the Plan, and make sure everybody gets one."

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