TRIBUTES have been paid to a former director of music at a Blackburn school who has died.

Jack Longstaff, 98, worked at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School for almost 20 years, and many of his pupils went on to achieve high positions in the music world.

Former deputy head David Hopkinson said: “It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of a legendary music teacher.

“Jack Longstaff was director of music at school for almost 20 years before his retirement in 1986, having joined the staff in 1967.

“Jack was a very gifted musician, especially as an organist, and he inspired a generation of pupils to appreciate the wonders of music.

“Former pupils Ivor Bolton, the conductor, organist Philip Crozier, and Halle chorus master Keith Orrell have much to thank for Jack’s dedication to his pupils.

“The breadth and depth of his knowledge was exceptional and he exacted the highest standards from his pupils, both musically and individually.

“It was not uncommon for Jack to check the cleanliness of the pupils’ shoes before entry into the music room was allowed. Many middle-aged people would now readily stand up straight at the mention of his name.

“These high standards were the same for Jack himself and he willing gave of his time during holidays to help pupils to explore the delights of various famous composers. When Jack wasn’t teaching music in school, he would often be found superbly playing the organ at St Peter’s Church.”

Former QEGS student Chris Gardner said: “It is so sad to hear about his death.

“Not only was I a member of the school choir from 1970 to 1976, and a member of the choir at Preston Parish Church where he became the organist, but also he was my piano teacher outside of school.

“My regular Tuesday routine for about four years was to travel with him to his home on Gorse Road, have my piano lesson, tea with the Longstaff family and then be taken to Preston for the weekly boys’ choir practice," he added.

“His own choral compositions were more avant garde than you might have expected from his general demeanour. As I recall, he was also the chief examiner for the then London Board for O-levels."

Another pupil Sam Westhead said: “It’s often asked which of one’s teachers was the most inspirational and I would quite confidently say that Jack Longstaff was that chap.