A CENTURY-OLD choir has bowed out due to ageing membership.

The choir associated with Christ Church Ainsworth has unanimously taken the decision to end on a high note.

Over the years, the group has captivated audiences at annual Easter, harvest and Christmas services, to name a few.

But with its membership diminished to eight voices, the singers formally resigned at the end of 2019.

Chorister Enid Horrocks said: "The choir was a very very friendly group. Whenever we were recruiting, we would say to people 'if you knew what fun we have in the vestry, you would want to join us'. It was like a family.

"We had a wonderful Christmas carol service in 2019. We received a standing ovation.

"We are all sorry that it has come to an end but we were unanimous about it. We did not want to drop off one at a time.

"When we finished, there were four over 80s, two aged 79, one aged 77 and the youngest was 58. We were coming to the end of our time in life. It felt the right time to stop.

"The choir is now within the congregation and we all tend to gravitate towards one another, which means that the quality of sound is still there."

The church choir is understood to have been founded prior to the First World War.

Former member, the late Hilda Lord, told church-goers that a junior choristers strike took place pre-1914. Her mother and aunt took part and, in negotiations with the vicar, won an important concession; a fully paid annual trip in a charabanc — a type of horse-drawn vehicle or motor coach, common in Britain during the early part of the 20th century.

Rev Dave Thomson, vicar of Christ Church Ainsworth, said: "After many years faithful service, our choir decided to quit on a high note and have put away their hymn books for the last time.

"This marks the end of an era in the history of our church. I am grateful for all their hard work and dedication over the years. Not that we have lost our choir members. They now sit with the rest of the congregation and have improved congregational singing tremendously!"

The choir has been supported by numerous organists over its long history, including Frank Kirkpatrick, Nicholas Turner, Margaret Turner and most recently Jennifer Johnson.