KINGSLAND chorister Cliff Davis has been singing with relish for 75 years – not even a dose of mustard was to spoil his appetite.

It was back in the war years when Cliff, a month away from his eighth birthday, turned up at St Michael & All Angels to receive his initiation: an examination of his tonsils followed by a spoonful of mustard administered by the oldest chorister.

Thankfully the practice is no longer carried out, but this was back in May 1944, since when Cliff has maintained a regular presence in the choir stalls. His lifetime of singing has been roundly celebrated in church with a full choir, a special anthem of ‘When I Survey the Wondrous Cross’ to the tune Morte Criste, followed by a glass of bubbly and cake made by Cliff’s wife, Val.

Over the decades he has had the privilege of singing at hundreds of weddings, baptisms and funerals as well as singing at weekly Sunday services. Said the vicar, the Rev Julie Read: “Even now we can guarantee that Cliff will be at practice and in church every week!”

In recognition of his remarkable dedication, Cliff has been presented with a New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

The service in tribute to him fell during Christian Aid week, and it was noted that Cliff’s membership of the choir began before the charity was launched in 1945. A good sum was raised for Christian Aid and the congregation, which included other neighbouring churches, enjoyed a roast pork lunch with all the trimmings.

During the 1950s, Cliff recalls a golden time for the choir when Kingsland entered the Hereford Festival and came away with the best church choir banner two years in a row.

Said the vicar: “We are glad that new members are continuing to join us and if you would like to sing – we meet in Kingsland Church every Thursday evening at 7.15pm for an hour!”

Unlike Cliff, applicants can be certain there will be no tonsil check or liberal dose of mustard!