Organ repairs lead to large bill for church

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A VILLAGE church has launched a fundraising drive to fill its coffers after having to spend thousands repairing its historic pipe organ.

The organ has provided music for weddings, funerals and services at St Barnabas Church, Swanmore since 1877.

Earlier this year, that music was under threat as serious issues with the whole system meant it needed extensive work.

The church enlisted specialists who managed to save the organ but at a cost of £3,870.

Church warden and assistant organist Tony King said: ‘As you can imagine, when people come to church for special occasions they expect to hear the organ, it means so much to the church to have the organ working that we had to pay for the repairs, we had no choice.’

As the work required intricate repairs on very old and traditional materials, not many repairers could carry out the work so the church had to call in specialists which led to the large repair bill.

The ornate pipe organ has been well maintained over the years, meaning that repairs have been rare.

In 1999 the church paid £13,000 for the organ to undergo a major restoration, of which villagers managed to raise £11,000.

This year, fundraising did not go to plan for various reasons including the church trying to recruit a new vicar after the last one retired. Because of this, the church is struggling to keep up with their outgoings and has a yearly deficit of nearly £10,000.

Mr King said: ‘We hope that people who appreciate the organ but don’t come to church every week will contribute. We do not receive money from the government or council – all the money has to be raised through voluntary contributions.’

Rev Claire Towns, who has been the vicar for the last three months, said: ‘The organ is such an important part of the church. It is absolutely integral.’

Please post donations to the church.




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