A PIANO student from Ryfields Village continues to amaze his teacher after passing another graded exam at the age of 89.

Jack Skelland, who is originally from Bewsey, recently passed his Grade Three piano qualification.

He only took up the hobby again in 2015.

And he is progressing so well that he has now working towards possibly completing all eight grades.

“Jack really enjoys learning the piano and you can tell by the amount of time he spends practising,” said his sister Josie.

“He’s 89 now and this is a great achievement for him ahead of turning 90 in July.

“It’s great for him to have a hobby like this and it really does have a positive impact on his daily life.”

This was echoed by his piano tutor Ralph Wheatley, who believes the enjoyment he gets out of the sessions are clear to see.

“I visit Jack every Friday to give him a lesson but he’s been practicing all week building up to it,” he said about the former apprentice compositor.

Warrington Guardian:

Jack with the new grade

“He’s a very good pupil, very acute and takes everything I tell him on board.

“You can tell that playing the piano and working hard toward passing the grades gives him a lot of enjoyment and pleasure.

“He started with me at the age of 86 and he’s almost 90 now, so learning the piano has been a massive part of his life in the past few years.”

It is not an easy feat to pass a piano exam, even for somebody much younger than him, but Jack continues to astound Ralph with his progress.

“It really is an incredible achievement for somebody of that age,” Ralph continued.

“An examiner comes down from London and you may think they would go easy on him considering his age, but they are quite strict in their assessments.

“It takes a lot of concentration and finger dexterity to pass the exams, so for someone like Jack to do what he does is amazing.

“In my 40 years of teaching the piano, I have never taught a pupil aged 89 and probably never will again.”

Jack began learning how to play the piano in the 1940s, but gave up when other commitments got in the way.

The same happened in the mid-1980s, but now he is fully committed to perfecting the piano in what is his third attempt.

"I'm really pleased to have passed and I wanted to do it in memory of my younger brother Dennis, who died suddenly just a few weeks ago," Jack said.

"It is also a lovely 90th birthday present for me.

"I owe so much of this achievement to Ralph, as without him this wouldn’t have been possible."

Warrington Guardian:

Jack a few years ago

And when asked whether the plan was to go all the way and achieve all eight grades, Ralph said Jack just takes each day as it comes.

“We take things one step at a time, and it is remarkable that Jack has got to this stage,” he added.

“He’s a very determined man, and if he doesn’t pass one of his exams, he never gives up and wants to give it another go.

“I think it’s the pleasure that playing the piano brings him that’s most important though.”

Both Jack and Josie praised Ralph for his role in Jack’s piano progress, and stated they were very grateful for his help.

“Ralph has been absolutely amazing over the years and has gone out of his way to help Jack,” Josie said.

“We cannot thank him enough and the pair of them have become great friends in the process.

“After a lesson Ralph sits down with Jack to have a cup of tea, some cake and a chat and they listen to some of his vinyl records which is a really kind thing to do.”