Captain's Award, Onchan - Olive Dobson, 2020


There was a surprise for all present on the evening of Wednesday 4th November at a concert given by Musicale at Abbeylands Methodist Chapel. At the conclusion, Captain of the Parish of Onchan, Peter Kelly MBE, CP came forward and explained the purpose of the award and then advised as to his choice. It was Mrs. Olive Dobson the chapel organist who was currently in her 80th year pedaling away at the harmonium.

The first time she played was on Sunday 6th July 1941 at the Sunday School Anniversary. She had only turned 11 years old on 10th January and was attending piano lessons. It was during the time of Rev. Harry Williams that Mrs. Ethel Cowley of Strenaby Farm stood down from being organist. Ollie has played the organ there ever since.

In 1969 the organist at Main Road Methodist Chapel, Gordon Astill stood down to become organist at St Peter’s Church in the Village. Ollie was asked if she could stand in until they found a replacement for Gordon. She agreed but on condition the her services at Abbeylands came first. Having started on 28th December 1969 to play at a special Centenary Service for the Main Road Chapel which was originally at the bottom of Nursery Avenue where it met Main Road, her temporary playing continued until February 2020 when she had a fall at home. So in addition to her 80th year at Abbeylands she had completed just over 50 years at Onchan. An incredible unsung achievement.

In addition she has been the accompanist for WI functions and concerts in Onchan and at 90 has played in ‘Old Folks Homes’ where some of the residents were younger than her.