Tributes to kind and inspirational piano teacher

Judith Rawlinson
Judith Rawlinson

A hugely respected and talented pianist who taught the instrument over four decades in Burnley has died peacefully at home.

Sixty-year-old Mrs Judith Rawlinson was well-known throughout Burnley where she worked as a piano teacher for both children and adults for some 42 years.

She was described as a caring, exceptionally talented but humble person by her husband of 44 years Mr Keith Rawlinson.

He said: “Judith was an incredible person. She started playing the piano in her teenage years while growing up in Bolton.

“She was exceptionally gifted and a lot better pianist than many people believed because she was so very humble.

“In four years she progressed to Grade 8 and gained five diplomas, two of which were for the organ. She could have been a concert pianist but she got a bit of stage fright so decided to teach instead.”

Mr Rawlinson, who is the organist at Burnley’s Central Methodist Church, went on to describe his wife’s devotion to church and how she helped others less fortunate.

With Central Methodist minister Phil Clarke, Judith organised and volunteered her time in a free Christmas Day meal for lonely and vulnerable people at the church for the last seven years, although illness prevented her from taking part last year.

Mr Rawlinson added: “The Christmas Day meals really summed Judith up. She was very caring and wanted to help those less fortunate.

“Burnley General Hospital provided the food and we would help to serve. Sadly, Judith was diagnosed with skin cancer in April 2014, although she continued with her teaching and church duties as best she could.”

Mrs Rawlinson served as a pastoral carer for many years, visiting sick and vulnerable people around Burnley, virtually every day.

During the 1980s she was the assistant organist at Clitheroe Parish Church, and for 20 years was the organist and choir master at Sion Baptist Church in Burnley.

Mr Rawlinson, who lived with his wife in Ightenhill, said she was a loyal and inspirational person. She also leaves their only child, Caroline.

Her funeral will be held on Tuesday, September 12th, at 11am to Burnley Central Methodist Church.