The churches of St Mary's Saffron Walden and St Mary's Wendens Ambo have appointed an organ scholar in memory of a former reverend.

Ziyi Wang, a Year 11 pupil at Saffron Walden County High School, has been named the third recipient of the Michael Swindlehurst Organ Scholarship.

She said: "I’m so grateful for this opportunity and for all the support. I’m really excited to start to expand my musical horizons."

Michael Swindlehurst was a much-loved member of the church and wider community. He was a volunteer at the museum and a leading member of the United Nations Association - as well as being involved in the History Society, the Talking Book and many other organisations.

He was also a great supporter of music at St Mary's, and the scheme both honours his memory and provides an opportunity for the training of young church musicians.

Oliver King, the director of music at St Mary's, said: "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Ziyi over the next year or so, and warmly welcome her to the music team at St Mary’s.

"Her energy, drive, and enthusiasm for learning the organ came across very strongly at her audition and we hope that she enjoys her time with us."

Scholars receive a grant, and are provided with organ tuition and opportunities to develop a range of musical skills.


As organ scholar, Ziyi will be based in Saffron Walden, apart from one Sunday a month spent at Wendens Ambo.

The rector, Rev'd Jeremy Trew, said: "The organ scholarship allows St Mary's actively to support young people learning to play and perform with this versatile musical instrument, encouraging a new generation of musicians.

"This is part of our role as a church to pass on to a new generation that which we have found to be good."

The organ scholarship is open to applicants aged between 14 and 21, with a high merit at piano, or organ grade 6 or equivalent.

The scholarship runs for an academic year, from September 1 to July 31.

For more information about St Mary's Church visit