Help Musicians today marks the recent passing of former trustee William Parker, with a few words to pay tribute to the large contribution he made to the charity.
William, who passed away on 6th August at his home in Wiltshire, was an important figure in Help Musicians’ recent history. He became a trustee in 1996 after a distinguished career at Freshfields, the prominent City firm of solicitors. He brought not only his legal acumen but also profound common sense to the charity board’s decisions. He gravitated naturally to the financial side of the charity’s work, the management of investments and legacies and handled the relationship with the charity’s external advisers with diplomacy and firmness.
Help Musicians was an ideal place for William to offer his services, he served as Deputy Chairman and Honorary Treasurer at the charity before leaving the board of trustees in 2012. He had a love of music, Strauss, Wagner, Elgar and others. Elgar’s Sea Pictures, sung by Janet Baker, was played at his funeral. The Church and its traditions also played an important part in William’s life and his memorial service was well attended by many local people who had known him and Vanessa, his wife, for many years, but also friends from Help Musicians, the Delius Trust, the John Soane Museum and other projects and institutions with which William had been associated.
Help Musicians Chairman Graham Sheffield CBE said: “We were very sad to learn that our former Trustee, William Parker, has passed away. William was a great friend to the charity, during the 16 years with Help Musicians as Trustee, he served on several committees and was Chair of the Finance Committee. He was a generous supporter of the charity and regularly attended the Festival of St Cecilia. We will always be grateful for the commitment he offered to us over the years. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”
John Axon, a Trustee member at the same time as William, said: “Bill was always quietly spoken with a reserved smile. As a former partner in a big London firm of solicitors he was used to hearing what others had to say before venturing an opinion of his own. Always polite, he was one of those people whose influence was often evident only sometime after events had taken place.”
Our sympathies go to his wife Vanessa and to his children Rebecca and Guy, who survive him.