Silver Wedding Anniversary 1984

Brother Paul and Betty on their Silver Wedding Anniversary

No mea culpas here as Brother Paul Mather makes no apologies for his views on the present day liturgy of the church. As well known and respected church musician, he is organist and choirmaster at St.Julie’s, St.Helens, he is an unreconstructed traditionalist and a member of the Latin Mass Society who believes the church has lost much since the changes ushered in after Vatican Two.

“I really do believe the liturgy has gone ‘down market’ since Vatican Two,” he states. “There is, in my view, a lack of respect for the mass and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament plus a ‘please yourself” attitude from both hierarchy and clergy.”

Paul Vincent Mather, the Vincent is after St.Vincent de Paul, was born in Birkenhead in 1935 claiming both Irish and Spanish ancestry dating back to 1756.

His father taught at Holy Cross, Liverpool and commuted through the tunnel to watch Everton, another long time passion inherited!

In 1940 his family along with 30 other boys was evacuated to Llangefni on Anglesey before moving to St.Helens where he has lived ever since.

Paul was first educated at St.Thomas of Canterbury at Windleshaw, moving to West Park Grammar in 1948. Following teacher training at De La Salle Middleton he began his teaching career at St.Teresa’s, Newtown.

In 1959 he became head of music at West Park where also introduced football to the disgust of the rugby establishment but his U15 side won the town cup. Paul also took a group of boys camping each year in Consiston.

“I do remember one game in particular,” he said. “It was a staff v boys match, I played for the staff and George Baldry played for the boys.”

Having spent four years at West Park, Paul moved to St.Edmund Arrowsmith in Ashton again as head of music and remained there until retirment in 1989.

In Victoria, Australia

In Victoria, Australia

“This was definitely a culture shock as I had to teach girls! ” he acknowleged.

In 1959 Paul married Mary Elizabeth Smith. Known as Betty, she was at the time president of the children of Mary.

“What a girl and how long can this go on”. says everything about the relationship.

Away from teaching Paul became involved in many other musical activities. As has been stated he looked after the music and the liturgy from the beginning in 1960 at St.Julie’s and has been the accompanist and conductor of Haydock Male Voice Choir on and off since 1978. He is also a member of the Elgar Society.

“In my view he composed the greatest English symphonies and concertos along with the greatest oratorios including The Dream of Gerontius”

At the moment one of his retirement tasks is to learn Bach’s fugues and be able to play them from memory. “To keep the old brainbox going,” he says.

Music has given him many memories, a highlight playing solo in Stuttgart on tour with Haydock MVC.

“This was in 1978 and I had the choice of three grand pianos, I also had the opportunity to meet the then Burgomeister Manfred Rommel who was the son of General Rommel, the Desert Fox.”

Other memories include Christmas concerts at St.Edmund Arrowsmith with upwards of 250 children and staff on stage.

Away from music he remembers Old Trafford in 1948 watching Bradman and Lindwall et al.

Now well into retirement he is still trying to inculcate the perfect swing on the golf course and watch good Everton performances over and over again! His other interests include water colour painting, chess and walking in the Lakes.

There is little time for anything else!

Geoff Lightfoot


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