Tributes are paid to ‘gifted’ musician

Stanley Walker in his heyday.
Stanley Walker in his heyday.

A talented and well-loved Spen musician who played in some of Europe’s grandest concert venues has died.

Stanley Walker’s life was like a story from a Hollywood film – a music teacher from Cleckheaton, he went on to travel Europe and play some of its grandest concert venues before starting a new life in Germany.

Born in Heckmondwike Maternity Unit in 1938 to Herbert and May Walker, Stanley grew up in George Street, and started taking piano lessons aged seven.

“He was always very musical,” said his sister, Shirley Lambert.

“He was a brilliant and gifted pianist and we could tell from a young age.”

It was when Stanley was a teenager in the 1950s that he got his first big break, appearing on television in Huey Green’s Opportunity Knocks.

As a young man, he continued to perform in music halls around the UK in a double act with his wife, Marjorie, before moving into music teaching at the former South Parade Secondary Modern School in Cleckheaton.

“He was a very popular teacher in Cleckheaton,” said Shirley.

“I think a lot of people in the area will remember him teaching them the piano.”

At the age of 26, he won a scholarship to study at the Berlin College of Music, before going on to play the classics and becoming known across the continent.

Shirley added: “He was a lovely person, so generous, and a very popular man. He will be sorely missed.”

Stanley, 75, had two daughters, Mandy and Michelle. He had moved to Herdecke in Germany, where his funeral was held on Monday.