Musician Ciaran Walker leads a concert in memory of his grandfather

A musician from MUSSELBURGH is set to conduct a concert in memory of his beloved grandfather, who died after a short battle with sepsis.

Ciaran Walker, who took up the post of organist and director of music at St Michael’s Church, Inveresk, earlier this year, said the event would raise funds for Sepsis Research (FEAT).

His grandfather Robert Gray, who was born and raised in Musselburgh, died on October 2, 2020 from the disease which occurs when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues.

Mr Gray will be remembered for ‘An Autumn Serenade’ on Saturday October 1 at 7pm at St Michael’s, when a group of young musicians join in to perform a range of music.

Tickets costing £5 will go on sale from Sunday, available at St Michael’s after morning worship.

It will also be possible to buy tickets on site the same day.

A recital series is underway at St Michael’s Church, Inveresk

Mr Gray was brought up by his parents Rab and Famie Grey, with his brother Ricky, above the Fish Pend on North High Street.

He attended the Musselburgh Congregational Church, of which his family is still a part today.

A passionate member of the Boys’ Brigade, he earned its highest honor – the Queen’s Badge.

Mr Gray left Burgh Primary School as a Dux and after graduating from Musselburgh Grammar School got a job at HMRC in Coatbridge.

He then became Post Office Manager, based at its headquarters in West Port House, where he worked until his retirement aged 47.

Although this early retirement was prompted by illness at the time, he recovered well and went on to enjoy a long and happy retirement.

His wife Allison died suddenly in July 2000.

East Lothian Courier: The public prepare for a recital at St Michael's Church in InvereskThe public prepare for a recital at St Michael’s Church in Inveresk

Ciaran said: “When I was born, in 2002, it gave my grandfather new meaning and we were very close throughout my life, and until the very end of his.”

Ciaran was 18 when his grandfather died and had just started studying music at the University of Edinburgh.

Now 20 years old, he is about to begin his third year of studies.

Ciaran has been playing the organ since the age of 12, having started at the Musselburgh Congregational Church.

In November 2019 he was appointed Organist at Priestfield Parish Church in Edinburgh, a position he held for over two years before taking up his post at St Michael’s.

He said: “I was delighted when I was offered the job at St Michael’s.

“I have started a series of recitals which is off to a strong start and I have also revived the choir which will soon meet for its first rehearsal.

“I hold organ diplomas from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and the North and Midlands School of Music, and am currently working on further diplomas.”

The recital series in Inveresk, called “St Michael’s at 3pm”, offers the public free performances on Sunday afternoons featuring local musicians.

“I started the series with an organ recital on our famous Lewis pipe organ in August which was well attended and raised over £300 for the church funds from the withdrawn collection” , Ciaran said.

A celebrity organ recital by Edinburgh University and City Organist Dr John Kitchen MBE on September 4 raised over £200 for church funds.

Three concerts remain to come in the current series: Evie Alberti will give a saxophone recital on Sunday at 3 p.m.; Richard Pullan will present a vocal recital on Sunday October 30 at 3 p.m.; and a vocal recital will be given by Oliver Marshall on Sunday, November 6 at 3 p.m.