Christine Best BA Cert Ed. A Cert CM,
Musical Director 1985 - 2012
Christine Best died on Tuesday 2 October 2012, after a year-long fight with cancer. She had been re-admitted to St Peter's Hospital, Chertsey a few days before and passed away peacefully in her sleep.
The Funeral Service was held on 14th October 2012, pictures of which can be viewed here
A full transcript of the eulogy delivered by Guy Beringer can be downloaded here Christine-eulogy.doc
Christine Best has been a well known and loved figure in the musical life of Weybridge and the surrounding area for many years.
She attended Woking Grammar School and later went on to Whitelands College of Education to study English and Drama. Here she also became part of the musical life of the college, studying with Gordon Reynolds, Master of Music at Hampton Court Palace. She returned at weekends to play the organ at St. Michael’s Church, the then daughter church of St James’ in Weybridge.
In 1967 Christine left college and started teaching at St. James Junior School, at the same time becoming accompanist for the Weybridge Male Voice Choir. She continued in that role for the next eighteen years, apart from one or two short periods filling in as conductor whilst the choir was between MDs! She took over as full-time Musical Director in 1985.
In 1982 Christine was appointed Deputy Head of St James Junior School and subsequently became Head Teacher at St Mary’s Junior School in Long Ditton. On her retirement she became a Governor of what is now St James C of E Primary School in Weybridge.
As Director of Music at St James’ Church in Weybridge she was awarded the Maynard Prize in 2008 for gaining the highest marks overall in the course for the Archbishops’ Award of the Guild of Church Musicians. In the same year she was made an Honorary Member of the Guild of Church Musicians for her work in the field of church music.
Christine was also Musical Director of Treble Clef Ladies' Choir and of the Weyward Singers.
From Bryan Thomas, Hon. Secretary Tonna Male Voice Choir:
It was with deep regret that I received the sad news about Christine, having spent a few happy years with WMVC under the guidance of Christine, I can appreciate how much of a loss this is not only to the choir but to the wider music fraternity in Weybridge.
Please pass on my personal condolences as well as those of the Tonna Male Voice Choir.
From Richard Hillier, Headmaster, The Yehudi Menuhin School:
I am very glad that I got the opportunity to meet Christine, if only on a couple of occasions, and especially that I was able to see her conducting and getting such splendid results from the choir. It was also good that she was well enough to come to one of our concerts at the School earlier this year. The link between WMVC and YMS is a very special one.
You have our best wishes and prayers at what must be a very sad time for you all.
From Dr David Rance, Concert Secretary, Snowdown Colliery Welfare Male Voice Choir:
Please accept condolences from all at Snowdown Colliery Welfare MVC.
From Malcolm Singer, The Yehudi Menuhin School
Hon. President, Weybridge Male Voice Choir:
I was so sorry to hear of Christine's death - the fact that it was expected doesn't make it any easier for anyone who knew her and cared for her deeply. I first met her in the late-70s and we had such fun with the WMVC in that period - Hector Welch as Chairman, Bill Drury (and others) as BIG personalities in the ensemble. Travelling to concerts and competitions were a joy, Christine was a rock as my right-hand-man, and I remember those times with great fondness.
Condolences to all at WMVC.
From Ann Fox:
Thank you for letting me know the very sad news about Christine Best. I am truly sorry as I always enjoyed her concerts and she will be enormously missed in the numerous fields of music in which she inspired so many, young and old. And what a character she was too - a huge loss to the community.
It is a comfort though to know that the choir will continue to give us all pleasure in the capable hands of Gareth Giles and I look forward to future concerts. Good luck to you all and thank you for all the enjoyment we've had in the past.
From Ian Pasley - Secretary Worrall MVC:
We are so sorry to hear the sad news of Christine's passing. Please pass on our deepest sympathy to the Choir and her family from everyone here at Worrall Male Voice Choir. We had many memorable times together and we will hold a minutes silence in her memory at our next rehearsal.
From Nicolas Chisholm, retired Headmaster of The Yehudi Menuhin School:
Thank you very much for letting me know the sad news of Christine Best's death. I knew that she had been seriously ill but she bore it with her usual good humour. We will all miss her enthusiasm and larger than life character. I hugely enjoyed working with her on the WMVC Surrey Young Male Singer Competition those years ago. She was always so full of energy. I loved the way she managed the concerts and her very informal interaction with the audience.
Best wishes to you all at WMVC
From Ian Brown. Ex 1st Tenor:
I was very sorry to learn of the passing of Christine. Please cvonvey to the Choir my most sincere condolences, and I will see you at the service on 14th October 2012.
From Michael Smith (Supporter):
Christine was a fine lady with a wonderful sense of humour. I miss her
inspiring presence at the concerts.
From Wendy McCaw:
Thank you for the sad information about Christine's death. She will be sorely missed by so many - but remembered for the wonderful legacy she has left with the choirs and her generous spirit in raising funds for so many different good causes. May she Rest in Peace - and may the Lord comfort those who mourn her passing.
From John and Estella Pryce:
We were very sorry to hear the news about Christine Best, she will certainly be greatly missed by all who knew her and especially the choir. We are glad to hear of the appointment of Gareth Giles who will no doubt maintain the good tradition of the choir, as he had worked so closely with Christine.
From Jack Stephenson, Waterford Male Voice Choir:
[We were] very sorry to hear of Christine's death. All of us here have great memories of her on our joint concerts in Weybridge and when you were with us here in Waterford last year. May she rest in peace. I am no longer on the committee, but will pass on the sad news to our current chairman for passing on to our members.
From Steve Petch, MD, Rushmoor Male Voice Choir:
From me, and on behalf of all your friends at Rushmoor MVC, please accept my sincerest condolences - our thoughts go out to Christine's family and friends.
From Steve Waters, Deputy Conductor, Bourne Concert Band:
I cannot imagine how you and Christine's other choirs must feel having lost your inspirational leader. I consider myself very lucky to have known Christine for some years through connections with Bourne Concert Band, Gareth's Choir Riversound, Heathside School and others.
Her sharp, dry wit and enthusiasm for her music are memories I shall remember with great joy. The Five Choirs Concert earlier this year was such a tribute to all her work in Weybridge.
I'm sure she must have enjoyed it, a moving evening, and how well she spoke. Best wishes to you all.
From Ken Downing (MD) and Kathryn (accompanist), St Stythians Male Voice Choir:
How sorry we are to hear the news about Christine. We have very fond memories of her, especially at the Croydon concerts, where she always left her mark! I mostly remember her from the time she dressed as a pirate for The Song of the Jolly Roger - every inch the character! We also enjoyed a wonderful concert with you in your local Roman Catholic Church - so lovely to be able to share the evening with you, and Christine was her usual friendly, cheerful self. She will certainly be missed by you all in many different ways. Thank you so much for letting us know - a very difficult time for you all. I am sure that Gareth and Ed will continue Christine's hard work and dedication with the choir.
With best wishes from us all at St Stythians Male Voice Choir
From Joe Johnston, Toshiba Information Systems (UK) Ltd.:
Thank you for letting me know this very sad news. I always think of Christine when I think of the choir, she will be greatly missed.
From Carole Merritt:
Thank you so very much for letting me know [about Christine]. She was such a character, so committed to her chosen way of life, so full of humour, such an inspiration.
From David Trussler:
Please accept our sincere sympathy at this time - we have many wonderful times to look back on over the years.
Although having seen many of the Choir's concerts, we only met Christine Best on one occasion, when WMVC performed a fund-raising concert for us at St Peter's Church, Walton Road, West Molesey in aid of the Princess Alice Hospice. We were very impressed with the rapport between Christine and the Choir members and grateful for their efforts on the night.
From Robin Sider, Mayor of Spelthorne:
I was extremely sorry to learn of the passing of Christine Best. As a supporter of the Weybridge Male Voice Choir, I have enjoyed many concerts under the direction of her baton, and her humour was second to none. Her enthusiasm and her musical direction will be sorely missed by everyone. Please pass on my condolences to your choir and committee.
From Debbie Conibere, 1st Weybridge Scout Group:
It is with great sadness that 1st Weybridge (Brooklands Own) Scout Group learnt that your beloved Christine Best passed away.
I'm know no words can comfort the loss of such a wonderful woman, but we wanted you to know that our thoughts are with you all during this extremely sad time.
From Angela Springett:
I am so, so sorry [to hear the sad news about Christine.] She had so many talents and brought pleasure to a huge number of people. She was always very encouraging when I sang, firstly as a soloist and later in duets. My first duet partner was Bridgette Payne, who sadly died; we had the privilege of singing in the choir concert at the Purcell Room –which was a real occasion. Since then I have been singing with June Saich and also as a soloist, although we haven’t sang with the choir recently.
I hope to come to the funeral; I know the church will be packed and Christine will be given a wonderful send off.