BOY chorister Alec Stuttard missed out on the Queen’s Coronation, but this Easter he will finally meet Her Majesty at Blackburn Cathedral, only 61 years late.
The Darwen-born 13-year-old fell ill just months before he was due to sing the Westminster Abbey event in June 1953.
On April 17, he will be among 176 pensioners receiving special coins from the Monarch when she hands out her historic ‘alms’ on Maundy Thursday.
In between, the 74-year-old packed in 58-years as a national and regional journalist, having four children, five grandchildren, while still singing.
He said getting a second chance to meet the Queen was ‘amazing’ and ‘heartwarming’.
Aged 10, the young Alec was a treble chorister at the cathedral under the tutelage of T L Duerden, the teacher of Blackburn opera superstar Kathleen Ferrier.
Unknown to him, ‘TLD’ nominated Alec to represent the cathedral at Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation.
Just as he found out, Alec lost his voice and by the time he had started to recover it, fellow chorister Stanley Roocroft had taken his place in rehearsal.
Mr Stuttard, who started his career at the Blackburn Times on leaving Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School aged 16, went on the work for the Lancashire Telegraph and national newspapers in London, Preston and Manchester.
He kept on singing, often in the cathedral choir as a bass, quitting in 2010, but remains a member of Darwen’s Octavius Chamber Choir.
At the same time, as he took semi-retirement, he became part-time press officer for the cathedral.
He has been selected as one of the 88 male and 88 female Maundy Pensioners for his voluntary service to the town’s premier place of Church of England worship.
Mr Stuttard, who now lives in Ewood, said: “I was desperately disappointed when I could not sing at the Queen’s Coronation.
“I had missed out on the chance of a lifetime.
“Sadly my wife Pat died last June, but my daughter Anna will be my companion at the service.
“To suddenly get the chance to meet the Queen at the cathedral where I was a chorister and where I worship is an amazing opportunity.
“There is something appropriate and heartwarming about everything coming unexpectedly full circle.”