Trevor Cowlett was the founder and musical director of Kennington and District United Church Choir.

He formed the 70-strong strong choir at the end of 1973 and it embarked on 47 years of singing for local, national and international charities raising over £500,000: an amazing achievement for a local amateur choir.

Trevor was born in Twickenham, in 1932, where he met his future wife Brenda Williams who died in 1995.

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His family moved to Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, during the war and the talented teenager was much in demand as an organist especially for weddings.

From 1950 to 1952 Trevor did National Service at RAF Wattisham, in charge of tele-communications.

He was awarded a music scholarship at Oxford University’s Hertford College, where he founded a choir bringing in young women from the ladies’ colleges.

After graduation he married Brenda and they bought a house in Kennington where he lived until his death on April 29.

Between 1957 and 1962, Mr Cowlett was Head of Music at Larkmead School in Abingdon.

He then set up as a private music tutor.

Trevor Cowlett

Trevor Cowlett

He taught more than 100 students the piano, organ and other keyboard instruments each fortnight in his Kennington home for almost 60 years.

Brenda and Trevor also ran the Kennington nursery school for 40 years, from their house.

In the early 1960s, Methodists in Kennington had begun meeting in various homes around the village, but Mr Cowlett had the ambition to build a church.

He said at the time: “We had no money, and we had no land. But the determination was there.”

The church opened on Saturday, October 29, 1967, free from debt.

When Mr Cowlett was featured in the Oxford Castaways series for The Oxford Times newspaper, he was frank about the time he suffered from agoraphobia.

He also described how he overcame it.

In the autumn of 2011, Mr Cowlett had kidney failure and had been on dialysis ever since.

The following year he was awarded the MBE for services to music.

This included 50 years of singing Christmas carols calling at every home in Kennington and accompanying villagers on his accordion to raise £50,000 for special needs children at Penhurst School in Chipping Norton.

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Even in recent years he taught piano and organ to 60 pupils a week.

Mr Cowlett was one of the founder members of Kennington Overseas Aid (KOA) and every year for half a century organised a fundraising concert for that year’s project.

Kennington Overseas Aid was founded in 1968 by the three Kennington churches, with a view to helping those less fortunate than themselves.

Each year, the group supported a project provided by an established international charity and has raised money for communities in Africa, Asia and South America.

In acknowledgement of the fundraising concert, KOA’s chairperson, Sylvia Vetta, wrote a history of the choir Mr Cowlett founded.

He asked for it to be titled I Love You All because that is what he said to the choir at the end of every performance.

The funeral service will take place in Kennington Methodist Church on Wednesday, May 26 at 11am.

The church was a significant place in Mr Cowlett’s life.

Due to coronavirus restrictions only 30 people can attend the service.

However, Mr Cowlett’s family would love his friends in the village, the choir and from the charities he generously supported to line Upper Road to say farewell.

The family and the choir hope to organise a memorial event later in the year for Mr Cowlett, who died aged 88.

He leaves three children, David, Peter and Mary and three grandchildren, Jonathan, Christina and Victoria.