A MUSSELBURGH musician is set to lead a concert in memory of his beloved grandad, 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 grandad Robert Gray, who was born and bred in Musselburgh, passed away on October 2, 2020, from the condition, which occurs when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues.

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

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

It will also be possible to purchase tickets on the door on the day itself.

East Lothian Courier: A recital series is underway at St Michael's Church, InvereskA recital series is underway at St Michael's Church, Inveresk

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

He attended Musselburgh Congregational Church, which his family are still part of today.

A keen member of the Boys’ Brigade, he gained its highest honour – The Queen’s Badge.

Mr Gray left the Burgh Primary School as Dux and, after his education at Musselburgh Grammar School, secured a job with the HMRC in Coatbridge.

He went on to become a manager with the Post Office, based at its headquarters at West Port House, where he worked up until his retirement aged 47.

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

His wife Allison died suddenly in July 2000.

East Lothian Courier: The audience prepares for a recital at St Michael's Church at InvereskThe audience prepares for a recital at St Michael's Church at Inveresk

Ciaran said: “When I was born, in 2002, it gave my grandad a sense of purpose again and the pair of us were very close all through my life, and right up to the very end of his.”

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

Now 20, he is about to embark on the third year of his studies.

Ciaran has played the organ since the age of 12, having started in Musselburgh Congregational Church.

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

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

“I have started a recital series which is off to a strong start and have also restarted 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 towards further diplomas.”

The recital series at Inveresk, called ‘St Michael’s at 3pm’, offers audiences free Sunday afternoon performances featuring local musicians.

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

A celebrity organ recital from Dr John Kitchen MBE, Edinburgh City and University organist, on September 4 raised more than £200 for church funds.

There are three concerts still to come in the present series: Evie Alberti will give a saxophone recital on Sunday at 3pm; Richard Pullan will present a vocal recital on Sunday, October 30, at 3pm; and a vocal recital will be given by Oliver Marshall on Sunday, November 6, at 3pm.