Archie, 103, is still doing voluntary work

Salisbury Journal: Archie, 103, is still doing voluntary work Archie, 103, is still doing voluntary work

AT 103 years old Archie Campbell Murdoch could be forgiven for taking life easy.

But instead, this energetic pensioner is still working hard at three Salisbury churches.

Mr Campbell Murdoch, who celebrated his 103rd birthday on March 2, volunteers at St Osmund’s, St Gregory’s and The Church of the Holy Redeemer and has done non-paid work since 1971.

He regularly sings in the choir, still plays the organ and helps out with many other duties in the Catholic churches.

“I never considered myself a hard-worker,” he said. “I see this longstanding voluntary work as just a part and parcel of who I am.”

Mr Campbell Murdoch was born in 1911, the year before the Titanic set sail and the year of the coronation of King George V.

He was born in Casablanca, and was educated at Langley Place Preparatory School before going on to Winchester College, Trinity College Oxford and the Royal College of Music.

He was taught to play the organ by Herbert Howells and sang regularly on BBC radio.

He auditioned successfully for the Glyndebourne Opera in 1939, but joined the London Auxiliary Fire Service at the outbreak of the war and spent the Blitz fighting fires in the East End and dock fires.

Mr Campbell Murdoch was married to Shelia for 71 years.

Their daughter Bridget worked as a teacher and persuaded her father to apply for a job at a local school.

He later became headteacher of the Thomas More School for disadvantaged children in Farnham and then moved to Brize Norton primary school before retiring to Malta with his wife in 1971.

The couple moved back to Salisbury in 1985 to be closer to their daughter.

“I’ve done non-paid work since 1971 and these days I do anything that needs doing at the churches I am involved in,” said Mr Campbell Murdoch.

“About 30 years ago I was organist and choirmaster at St Osmund’s and it’s nice to still have that connection with my local church. I still occasionally play the organ there and regularly sing in the choir.”

In 2011 Mr Campbell Murdock became a resident of The Abbeyfield Society’s MacGregor House in Salisbury.

The charity’s senior house manager Neil Thompson said: “Archie is an inspiration to us all. Very occasionally he takes a lift from a friend to one of the churches where he works, but most of the time he walks round Salisbury because he enjoys the exercise. He is a great addition to our community here at Abbeyfield and we wish him all the best for his 104th year.”

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