DAVID Cooper, a former director of music at Blackburn Cathedral, has died after a long illness aged 58.

Mr Cooper arrived in Blackburn to take charge of the choir in 1983, succeeding Dr John Bertalot who was taking up an appointment at Princeton in the United States.

David Cooper remained at Blackburn for 11 years, conducting both the Cathedral choir and the Renaissance Singers - a chamber choir which is still in existence now.

He also taught music at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School during his time in Blackburn.

In 1994 he was appointed master of the choristers at Norwich Cathedral but only stayed there about a year before moving to Ripon where he formed a choir and sang in the cathedral.

He then took a post lecturing at a university in Hong Kong until falling ill about two years ago.

At this point he returned to live in Ripon until his death last week.

He recently told an old friend that he spent the happiest days of his career at Blackburn.

For many years, including his time in Lancashire, Mr Cooper was a music examiner for the Associated Board and travelled the world in that capacity.

He was born in Derby and studied at Lincoln College, Oxford, where he became organ scholar before starting a teaching career in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, and in York.

Before arriving at Blackburn he was assistant organist at Wells Cathedral in Somerset.

Colleagues described him as a talented musician with a enormous love of church music and an outstanding ability to get the best out of any choir he led.

The funeral takes place next Monday at Ripon Cathedral.

A eulogy will be given by Canon Godfrey Hurst, who was a residentiary canon at Blackburn during Mr Cooper's time there.