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Murray Rumsey of Quorn - a love of life

Loughborough Monitor - 19th April 1963

Speaking of Quorn' s somewhat qualified welcome extended to strangers entering its gates, an old resident hastened to add: "Of course, with Murray Rumsey it's different. He's one of us!"

This summed up the feeling of the whole village, where every man, woman and child loved Murray Rumsey. He came to spend a fortnight's holiday with his brother (Canon H H Rumsey) at the Vicarage. He remained in the village - and became intimately involved with Press, musical, and church matters - for well nigh half a century.

Quorn had never known anyone quite like him: his record of travel and musical experiences which fall to the lot of but few men; his unconventional, honest-to-goodness personality which exuded friendliness with all and sundry; and his eloquently expressed abhorrence of all cant and humbug and snobbishness.

He was a man to whom a job was a job, and who invested everything he touched with dignity and sincerity. At all times and in all places, Murray Rumsey was capable of doing things which would have been expected from none but him.

Who else, for instance, would have broken off in the middle of his sermon in Oaks-in-Charnwood parish church to lead the congregation in a rendering of "Love's old sweet song"?

Who else would have halted by the side of an itinerant musician, playing in one or other of Loughborough's busy thoroughfares; requested the repeat of some particular piece, and then accompanied the musician with his fine tenor voice; to such purpose that the passing burgesses returned to throw coins which would otherwise have been withheld?

And who else would have engaged the renowned Sam Price (Hathern's champion of song, if there ever was one!) in a song singing contest spread over a period of weeks - in the friendly atmosphere of "The Three Crowns"?

Murray Rumsey's early life was devoted to music, in one direction or another. St Paul's Cathedral, the Chapel Royal, Westminster Abbey, Southwark Cathedral and other such places had known the splendour of his voice. He undertook "busking" expeditions, and he once formed an ill-fated concert-party, which he called "The Roman Singers" for a tour of the South Coast resorts. The members were supplied with a leg of mutton ("literally rotten" he described it afterwards) which they were unable to eat. They had to substitute it for bread and cheese. When they returned the offending mutton to the butcher the next day, he grudgingly recompensed them with a pound of sausages!

The tour included experiences with empty halls, members demanding payment when there was no money available; landladies pestered for overdue rents; and watches and chains had eventually to be pawned to raise sufficient cash for the homeward journey.
Murray was full of such exciting reminiscences, and he had a way with him in the telling of them.

It could hardly be said of him that he took no thought for the morrow, but he seemed utterly regardless of those things for which so many men yearn. He undertook each task for the sheer love of it; never weighing up whether it might turn out a financial profit or loss.

Give him a book, or a piece of material for his wood-working lathe, and you could make Murray Rumsey an extremely happy man. Engage in discussion with him, and you would find him adept in the thrust and parry of argument.

Yet he always retained a profound respect for the opinions of others, so long as they were sincerely held. As for music, it remained, with him, one of life's most important things, and he was never more satisfied than when he could share it with others. That was why the front room of his house in Barrow Road was set aside for the use of choir boys whom he delighted to train, and for the practice of glee-singing, one of his early loves.

So deeply was he concerned in local church matters that he might have been called Quorn's unofficial curate. Not only in Quorn, but throughout the East Akeley and other deaneries he was widely known as a licensed lay reader. He represented his own parish at Diocesan and Ruridecanal conferences. He gave lectures (especially on musical subjects) to choir gatherings and other organisations. And he placed himself at the disposal of any individual requiring information, help or advice.

Barrow-upon-Soar, Woodhouse and Woodhouse Eaves knew Murray Rumsey almost as well as did Quorn itself. The highlight of his news-gathering journeys was his annual Whit Monday walk to Oaks-in-Charnwood Vicarage garden fete - and back again. At that particular function he was regarded as a personality quite as important as the opener!

Behind all this there was - on the part of those who knew him - an intense admiration for his courage in maintaining a busy and useful life in face of an affliction which has caused many to remain in life's background.

Murray Rumsey took it all in his stride; he would, one imagines, have been affronted at any expression of sympathy.

 Submitted on: 2012-03-06
 Submitted by: Kathryn Paterson
 Artefact ID: 1542
 Artefact URL: www.quornmuseum.com/display.php?id=1542
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page

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