Haverhill carol concert tribute to late Les Ager

Les Ager with his British Empire Medal alongside wife Jean, 75

Les Ager with his British Empire Medal alongside wife Jean, 75


The annual Carols For All concert this year will be a recreation of the event from three years ago, the last time it was conducted by the late Les Ager, as a tribute to him.

Les, who was twice mayor of Haverhill and in April was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to music in the town, died in his sleep on the night of October 23/24 aged 75 following a fight with leukaemia.

He had been involved in the Haverhill Operatic Society and the Haverhill Silver Band for decades, joining the latter as a cornet player in 1953 before becoming conductor and musical director in 1964, a post he held for three decades.

He was the driving force behind the ‘Carols For All’ concert, and conducting 35 performances from 1975 to 2010, when he was presented a silver baton after retiring.

Now this year’s event, at 8pm on Sunday (December 22) at the Old Independent Church, will be a repeat of his final programme that night three years ago and will feature pieces from Handel’s Messiah and an assortment of carols.

Daughter Karen Chinery, 48, from Great Yeldham, will conduct the operatic society and son Mark, 51, from Haverhill, will conduct the band.

“Dad died as I was organising the programme so we thought it would be a nice tribute if we re-did his complete last service,” said Karen.

“He really enjoyed Christmas Fantasy which had all his favourite carols and my daughter Lauren did a solo of ‘Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, which she will do again.

“Everyone has been really supportive and when Mark first announced the plans he got a round of applause.”

Les, from Roman Way, was also involved with Haverhill Centre Stage company, and played Trumpet in the amateur thespian group’s debut show Mikado in 1969.

Tickets for the Carols For All are available and can be bought from the arts centre on 01440 714140 or on the door on the night.

For all the latest news see today’s (Thursday, December 19) Echo.




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