Peter T. Cork
teacher, composer, pianist, author, walker, friend ...
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Reflections on Peter

What do we say about Peter in such a limited time?

How do we pay tribute to a man with so many facets to his character? I am so glad that, in the fullness of time, we will be able to reflect properly on this man and his music.

Peter Cork: son, cousin, loyal friend, teacher, musician composer, award-winning conductor, walker, traveller. A man aware of his gifts and, at the same time, a man taken by surprise at the impact that he had on people.

A Music Teacher, although this description does not really suffice. A man, who at Dagenham and Clapham, spent end-less time writing wonderful musicals for his schools and encouraging his pupils. Indeed, some years ago I saw a letter from a lady in Chicago, writing to say that Peter's lessons engendered a life-long love of classical music. Others here today would echo the sentiment. His teaching brought about a long association with Dudley Moore, whose letters to Peter were to be published in aid of the charity connected with his terrible illness. I have had a message from Rena Fruchter, Peter's collaborator in the book saying this, "I got to know Peter well through this project and was always impressed by how hard and carefully he worked..I feel priveleged to have known him."

Composer of music played literally all over the world, and across the media - film, television, radio, most fruitfully in association with his dear friend Piers. His own works recorded on disc. Composing and playing almost to the last. We will explore this more fully at another time. It was, of course, Peter's music that we came in to.

Pianist: Peter just loved to play the piano, whether at home or for us at local churches or in concert.


Walker over many years. I was talking with his old friend Stan Haywood who remembers, as Peter did, walking in the north of Scotland when their land-lady was outraged that they might want a bath every day. No en-suite, then! Never happier than in his beloved Lake District. So many albums of wonderful photographs.

Traveller It was travelling to a teaching post in Australia that led him to Cambodia, where he fell in love with the country and its people, leading to his passionate support for the Cambodia Trust.

A Loyal Friend. A man well loved. So many here today cared for him as he cared for them. Colleagues, pupils, walking companions, fellow musicians, his carers over the years, Sarah and Debbie, and the wonderful ladies from Nightingales who worked so hard to ease his last weeks.

A Committed Christian, led to the Lord this Good Friday. He last played for us at Capel on Easter Sunday and he played - and we sang - THINE BE THE GLORY. He never played it better and we never sang it better. Later, you will have the same opportunity.
When he was poorly and in Residential Care, I sat with him late one night and he said to me "Things are coming to a change" and he referred to "starting a new enterprise". I asked him how he felt about that and he said that it was "not a bad idea." I took this to mean that he was contemplating embracing, even, his death. We can celebrate a life well and fruitfully lived. And we can celebrate that he has, indeed, been brought safe through Jordan and is safely home.

Colin Patience, Lay Pastor, Capel Baptist Church

Empty House a poem for Peter Cork

Here's where he sat
to play:
country pictures floated
from his fingers;
fat English chords
marked streams and hills,
winding paths and fords,
summoned from the landscape of his mind:
Last Posts.

Old movies too
and the kindness of strangers -
a choir-stall fills with children,
friends, musicians, folk
who walked his way,
sang to his beat.

That was another day:
no more singers;
the easy chair has gone;
a few motes of dust
turn in the autumn light:

Deanna, Cyd, Judy, Fred,
dancers, lone rangers,
the living and the dead -
all holy ghosts.

But in the silence of the room,
under photo, map and music sheet
The piano, left alone,
breathes notes.

[Piers Plowright, remembering 39 Alder Road on the 12th October, 2012]
  Piers has put into words, into a poem, the thoughts, the feelings and the sadness that all of us felt. The piano, too, is very sad...

Friends at Crundale   Crundale on Friday, 27th September 2013

Just over a year after the Thanksgiving Service, a group of us met outside the remote Crundale Church after enjoying a very fine luncheon provided by Colin and Gillian Patience. We were, from left to right, Peter Cosker, Piers Plowright, Colin Patience, Norma Winstone, Michael Sandison, Gillian Patience and Anita Sandison. Also present was Jenny Cosker, who took the photograph, and Peter Cork's physical remains in the form of his ashes, which we planned to scatter in this beautiful and peaceful spot.

Permission had been sought and granted to scatter the ashes in the churchyard so we walked just a short distance and found a spot under a fine old tree. Colin, once again, said a few words that echoed the thoughts of us all and the deed was done in a most respectful and dignified manner.

Crundale Church sits on the eastern side of a valley that runs approximately south to north. The southern end being high on the downs just behind Wye Crown, that landmark which features prominently in Peter Cork's, 'The Wartime Picnics'. High on the western side of the valley is Marriage Farm, where Peter's grandmother was born and lived in her early days. Peter's story of 'The Road From Marriage Farm' received great critical aclaim when it was broadcast on the radio.

The Wye Downs, Marriage Farm and Crundale Church were places we knew well because Peter enjoyed taking us there on the many walks he planned. We would often stop by Crundale Church for a rest and to eat our sandwiches. We think Peter would have appreciated having his final resting place there.

A small contingent of the fitter amongst us set off to walk some of those peaceful tracks and paths one more time. The photograph on the right was taken by the entrance to Marriage Farm and you may see the outbuildings and the roof of the main farmhouse beyond the group of walkers.

Despite our belief that we knew the area well, we managed to miss the route on more than one occasion and that made us quite late back at Crundale Church, where our motor cars were parked. No doubt Peter was having a quiet chuckle at our ineptitude without his leadership!
  Walkers infront of Marriage Farm

We should, perhaps, finish with a look at tree and the corner of the churchyard where Peter's ashes were scattered. The group of us slowly move away to leave Peter in peace.   The Tree in the Churchyard

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editor: Peter J. Cosker

Peter T. Cork

updated: 20/11/2013