Tributes to Sheffield organist Tommy

Pianist and Organ player Tommy Male still tinkling the ivories at the age of 90
Pianist and Organ player Tommy Male still tinkling the ivories at the age of 90
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Tributes have been paid to a Sheffield pianist who has tickled the ivories for the last time.

Great-grandfather Thomas Male, who has died aged 94,spent 44 years as a professional organist and piano player, bringing music to ears everywhere from Chapeltown club to the grandeur of City Hall.

Of all the stools he graced, his favourite was the Marples Hotel in Fitzalan Square when it was rebuilt after being destroyed in the Sheffield Blitz of December 1940.

Thomas, a former engineer, might have stepped away from the club scene many years ago, but could often be found sitting at the piano in his home in Hoyland, Barnsley.

His second wife Margaret, aged 77, and daughter Carol, aged 68, hope to welcome those who heard Thomas play to his funeral at St Peter’s Church, Hoyland, tomorrow, starting at 12.15pm.

Carol said: “I was extremely proud of my dad, he had a real gift.

“He grew up in Attercliffe and his mum worked hard to send him to piano lessons.

“He was classically-trained, but his favourite sort of music was dance band.

“When organs came in he started using those. Dad was a real character. He loved music, it was his life.

“The house was always filled with it.”

During his time at the top Thomas accompanied the likes of famous bandleader Victor Silvester.

But it was while playing at Chapeltown club that he impressed Margaret, who he was married to for 44 years after losing first wife Phyllis.

Margaret said: “He was well known. I was at the recent Women of Steel concert in Sheffield and there were ladies there who remembered him playing at tea dances.”