A LONG-SERVING chorister has been awarded for his outstanding contribution to St Mary’s Parish Church.

Richard Hopkins, 88, of Frinton, joined the local choir in 1946 and has been a continuous member ever since.

To mark his 75 years of service, Colchester’s archbishop Ruth Patten presented Mr Hopkins with a special certificate and a medal during the annual Harvest Festival.

Presentations were also made to other long-serving members to celebrate their dedication to the church.

Mr Hopkins, who is the eldest chorister in St Mary’s church, joined the choir when he was only 13 years old.

Going back in time, he said music has always been a big part of his life with both his parents singing in a choir.

Mr Hopkins added: “My mother was in the same choir as I am now.

“I have always been encouraged to sing.

“I had lessons I have always been interested in singing, “I was in choir in the Hastings before I moved to Frinton.”

Mr Hopkins said he enjoyed all sorts of singing and fellow members of the church have also praised his skills.

Rev Andrew Rose said: “When I came to Frinton in the mid-nineties St Mary's choir had a tenor line that most church choirs could only dream of.

“Whenever we needed a tenor solo Richard Hopkins would be the first choice.”

Mr Hopkins was also described as a “very humble man”, which was why everyone kept the upcoming award ceremony a secret.

Peter Wood, who is the churchwarden at St Mary’s Church, said: “ Richard is very loyal, capable and reliable.

“I have known him since I came in the church in 1983.

“He is a very quiet, humble man.

“It was a wonderful recognition of an amazing service to the choir. “ Mr Hopkins' wife, Ann, 87, of Frinton, has also recognized his achievement.

She said: “ I have been going to that church for 84 years.

“We both love music and I am very proud of him.

“He has done very well!”