Moody Moves • Recording at Henry Wood Hall, London

All photographs Copyright © 2012 Benjamin Ealovega


The Order of Service can be foundhere

Sue's tribute to Richard

Richard was born in 1949 – a real baby boomer – born in the aftermath of World War 2 – to rationing, and local bomb sites, but also one of the early generation of children to be born into the brave new world of the National Health Service, with vaccinations, rosehip syrup and lots and lots of milk – a habit which never left him – the milk that is not the rosehip syrup! He was born in King George’s hospital in Ilford to Elsie and Reg, who were quite old as parents and he remained an only child, which he often reminisced was quite lonely, especially at family events, when his cousins were pretty much a generation older than him, and their children anything from 10 to 20 years younger. His mother had stayed close to many of the girls she had been with in the Girl Guides and Rangers, who were always described as Aunties- and this left Richard with a lifelong confusion as to which of these ladies were actual relations and which were honorary. It is fair to say that his knowledge of his family history was minimal – no perhaps that’s too polite – it was hopeless!

He lived in Ilford and grew up firstly in Gants Hill before moving to Redbridge in his late teens. In Gants Hill the family lived just a few doors away from St. Georges Church. Here he was a choir boy, then played the piano for the Sunday School, and eventually became the organist – beginning his life-long attachment both to English Church music and the instrument that he so loved. He went to Gearies Junior School , just at the other end of the street, coming home for lunch each day, and then on passing the 11+ he went to Ilford County High School for Boys in Barkingside. He described his school days as happy ones where many enduring friendships were made, particularly amongst those involved , like him, in various musical activities. School got even better after he broke his leg in the third year, when he slipped on ice. The ensuing weeks in plaster meant that the games department forgot all about him, - completely. And for the rest of his school life -games lessons gave him a great opportunity to hide in a practice room and do what he really enjoyed. – play music. The school organised some outings to operas including a ring cycle at what is now the English National Opera conducted by Reginald Goodall. He found this spellbinding and started his life-long love of Wagner. From that time he had an ambition to visit Bayreuth – and it was so good that he was able to do this last year. Richard and Sue had seen full stage performances of all but one of Wagner’s operas – quite a marathon on their parts.

Richard attended the Junior Royal College of Music on Saturday mornings where he had an exhibition or scholarship . He was given entry as a pianist with second instrument of violin, having had emergency violin lessons for a year in order to gain entry. He had piano and violin tuition at the College along with theory and later O& A levels were taught, and there was a series of Orchestras working up the First orchestra. After a couple of years he decided that he wanted to play the organ, so violin lessons stopped, but he was allowed to maintain a place in the orchestras, as long as he could keep up the relevant standard. It was always a source of pride to him that he made it to the first orchestra with relatively little formal violin teaching.

These were also the early years of the Redbridge Youth Orchestra, of which he was a founder member, where many friendships were forged, especially at the Aldeburgh courses which culminated in a concert at Snape Maltings. Richard went on to lead the Orchestra in his final year with them. He also attended the reunions organised by Mary Spiers in Redbridge, with concerts being reproduced in Ilford Town Hall, and latterly the Veterans weekends in Aldeburgh organised by Rod which were so enjoyable. It is of course with enormous sadness to all veterans that Richard will join the list of his contemporaries who are toasted In Memoriam at each reunion – those who are sadly no longer with us - who have been taken before their time.

O levels were successfully negotiated and A levels of Pure Maths, Applied Maths and Physics were studied along with Music as an extra at the Royal College. These subjects perfectly fitted his developing love of engineering in many facets. From building his model Hornby railway and wiring it up in his early teens, to creating ever more sophisticated music reproduction and recording sound systems – now called hi-fi – he was clearly gifted in this area. He applied for University courses in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and faced the dilemma that the Royal College offered him a full time place at the Senior College to study Music. However he turned this down as – and he clearly told Sue – “ I just didn’t think I was good enough”. It was a decision that he always felt had been the right one for him. He was happy to continue as a good amateur with music as a relaxing hobby. During Lockdown when he was very bored, (as well as writing his funeral plans) he sorted all the programmes of concerts stored in the loft that he had taken part in. He used these to create a spreadsheet of all the works he had played as a violinist, pianist, organist, singer or conductor - it is quite a list – and shows that even as an amateur, music was a huge part of his life.

Too much time spent on hi-fi and playing music meant he didn’t quite make the necessary grades for his first choice place at Queen Mary’s College London and he went through clearing to City University. He got a solid degree and picked up much useful experience along the way . The course was what was then called a sandwich course with terms of working in industry interspersed into the academic study of engineering. When he graduated, he went straight into working for GCHQ on the development of speech recognition technology. In the spirit of sta_ development he was funded to undertake a two year part time masters degree in applied acoustics where his dissertation was on Speech Production in Organ Flue Pipes. So his love of music, and his engineering expertise came together.

Throughout all this time he continued to play in a range of orchestras, as well as maintaining an organist post and training the church choir in Gants Hill. He also became the Conductor of the Barking Choral Society which put on 4-5 major concerts a year, with an orchestral accompaniment and he was able to perform some of his favourite choral works with them. When he achieved his Masters degree there was no financial reward in the form of promotion at GCHQ so he moved on and joined AIRO – the Acoustical Investigation and Research Organisation. Apart from a few years at Roneo Vickers and one of the Rank Organisations, the rest of his professional life was spent in the Acoustics Industry.

In the late 1970’s he started going out with Sue after she had joined the St.Georges Choir. They got married in 1980 – and apart from occasional years here and there Sue has spent a lifetime sitting in choir pews looking at Richard’s back while he played, or turning pages, pulling stops and raising funds so that organs could be restored as well as singing alongside. He was the Organist and Choir Master at Standon in Hertfordshire before becoming the main and then only organist on a rota in Northill. He was a very talented organist as those who have attended various concerts here will know, although he refused to see himself as such. He announced prior to his 60th birthday that he wanted to play the organ in the Poulenc Organ Concerto – which he did memorably, - and has performed countless recitals here and in other churches around the area. In many comments that people in Northill have sent to Sue, they recall how they enjoyed hearing Richard practice on Thursday mornings, particularly in lock-down, as well as playing during services in this church. Those Thursday morning sessions were quite a ritual and well known in the village. One person wrote how they would sit outside the church with their dog and listen to him practising!

After briefly living in Romford Richard and Sue moved to Puckeridge in Hertfordshire . They were both keen to get further out of London and an offer to become Chief Engineer at CEL Instruments, one of the UK’s foremost Acoustic instrument manfacturers was the perfect opportunity.

Both their sons were born in Puckeridge. Famously Richard had to make a dash when Robin arrived a couple of weeks early as he was installing a noise monitoring system at an airport (which may have been Leeds) – he did make it to the hospital but with not a lot of time to spare after Sue woke him at 4 in the morning to tell him something was happening. For anyone who has ever spent time with Richard you will know that he was not the fastest person to wake up and get his brain in gear in the mornings – and in his half awake state he did ask what she meant! He never lived that one down! Dominic completed their family in 1990.

Richard was a devoted father – and a very hands on dad. He was happy for the boys to help him do all sorts of tasks, which has probably helped them both become very competent at diy in their own homes. They had lovely family holidays in the UK – he would spend hours with them building sandcastles and other constructions. And of course a family holiday would not be complete without a trip on a steam train on what are now called heritage lines. There aren’t many around the UK that the Tyler family haven’t experienced over the years. His love of trains has clearly passed onto his beloved grandson and all the family will always remember seeing Thomas the Tank Engine pull the carriages on the Nene Valley line near Peterborough at Easter this year. It was a treat for Richard as well as Seth.

And of course his love of music was also passed down to the boys. They learnt a range of instruments from an early age, and Richard was always there to accompany exam pieces, do aural training and anything else that was needed to help their musical development. He accompanied both the boys through all their associated board exams, up to and including Performing Diplomas. There were some pieces, and a Brahms Cello Sonata comes to mind, where Richard was convinced that the Cello part might be grade 8 but the piano part was more like Grade 12! He would even have to practice! He was incredibly proud of their musical achievements and so pleased when they were both able to play at his 70th birthday concert here. But it was not just their musical achievements – they both grew up to be brilliantly rounded, thoughtful, kind, practical and just simply wonderful human beings exactly like their father. They could not have had a better role model. He would be on call when needed – identifying strange electrical circuits in Robin’s home, helping Dom with making sure that the lighting circuit he’d designed could be fulfilled … the list is endless. He was such a successful role model for them that one son is an engineer in Software, and the other a musician. What more could one say?

Richard’s career in acoustics flourished at CEL. He became a Fellow of both the Institute of Acoustics and the Institute of Electrical Engineers. Some of his instrument designs were ground breaking for their time. He joined Technical Standards committees both in the UK and Internationally, and was still an active member on these when he died. There have been many tributes from colleagues within the industry who knew Richard over a number of years. He received the prestigious IEC 1906 Award in 2018 and the British Standards Institute have awarded a posthumous Distinguished Service Award on hearing of his death.

When CEL had been subjected to a couple of takeovers Richard decided that it was time for him to move on and he developed his own businesses, AVI and AV Calibration. These were both successful in their di_erent ways, one doing design work and the other a Sound and Vibration Calibration Laboratory. Letters over the last few weeks have emphasised what a thoroughly professional and successful engineer Richard was. He was able to continue with the Standards work, visiting many different countries for meetings, and for many years he Chaired the Measurement and Instrumentation Committee of the Institute of Acoustics which he had been instrumental in setting up. Under Richard’s leadership they developed some interesting one day meetings and workshops.

Richard and Sue had moved to Bedfordshire in the early 1990’s and as time went on, and the boys moved on to their own careers, Richard did more and more music. He had been a member of the Havering Symphony Orchestra whilst living in Romford for three years, the Hertfordshire Symphony Orchestra whilst in Puckeridge, and they hadn’t lived here too long before he joined the Bedford Symphony Orchestra where he led the second violin section for many, many years. He also played with the Bedford Sinfonia, and latterly led the Bedford Community Concert Orchestra from time to time. As soon as he retired he wrote to many of the churches in the area offering availability to play during the week – mainly aimed at funerals. However one Church warden wondered if he could fit in a morning service. Thus began 12 years of playing at Shillington Church at 9.30 and being back here for morning service at 11.15. He also took their choir practices, and the choir there have become personal friends to both Richard and Sue, and are singing here today. For some years he didn’t play the second Sunday here, so instead played at Renhold. So 3 churches at one time – he really was a very keen and dedicated Organist. He also served on the Committee of the Beds and Herts Organists Association – although to be really honest Richard was not a great Committee man – unless it was discussing acoustic instruments!

In 2019 he was offered the opportunity to conduct a Chamber Choir in Arlesey – Vivace. He loved doing this, and although the first year was blighted by lockdown and the ban on singing, together he and the choir have produced some good concerts since, and again the choir are singing here today along with our own extended Church choir in Northill.

So playing at several churches, a couple of orchestras and conducting a choir – you may wonder how he had time for anything else. He was a keen all weather gardener – thinking nothing of wrapping up to go and prune roses in deepest January and February. He would help when needed at Village Hall and Church Events, as well as jobs that needed doing for both organisations. And of course both of them both loved travelling. A few years ago they took the decision to make sure they saw as much of the world as they could whilst still fit and able to do so, and not wait for their mutual retirements. They had so many wonderful memories of the places they had visited and things they have seen. They also enjoyed holidaying in the UK and Richard loved going on canal holidays. This last tragic one cannot obliterate the fun and enjoyment that both Richard and Sue had on canal holidays over the last 40 plus years.

Once Sue retired they were constantly going to things - interesting exhibitions, plays or concerts or films, quite often it would be a bit further afield and they would stay overnight if necessary. And they loved meeting up with friends for lunch. The gardening and other jobs – well they could wait!

And so whilst they always lived life to the full, the last few years were incredibly happy, busy and so enjoyable for both of them, doing the things they loved together.

There are people from every walk of his life who have written to Sue over the last few terrible weeks, be it from the acoustics world, Redbridge youth orchestra veterans, the organists association, members of choirs and orchestras past and present or friends both long standing and more recent. They have reminisced about the aspect of Richard that they knew best - but the one thing that they all have in common is their respect and affection for him. Virtually every letter ended “we will miss him.”

Sue has written - I had the most wonderful husband there could be.

Rest in Peace Richard in the knowledge that you were loved so very much and will be missed for ever.

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