Many visitors and parishioners will have seen or heard the beautiful pipe organ installed in St. Mary's.
This delightful two manual instrument was built by the respected firm of Forster and Andrews of Hull, installed in our church in 1877 and has remained almost untouched ever since, unlike many other Victorian pipe organs which have been moved, modified or replaced in the intervening time. This instrument, considered by many organists and experts to be a shining example of Forster and Andrews’ work has recently been granted Grade II* Historic Organ Listing status, as a particularly fine old building might attract listing to indicate its importance to the nation.
After 143 years without a major rebuild, our pipe organ is now increasingly showing signs of needing a full restoration. A combination of an accumulation of dust and wear means that it is no longer sounding its best. As well as having to dismantle the complete mechanism, it is also likely that the timber floor supporting the organ may have to be replaced, which extends as far as the vestry. The electrics in the vicinity of the organ and vestry will need upgrading, as will the the sound system, so the project is far- reaching.
We should very much like to see this project come to fruition which, if achieved will serve the church and our community for many years to come. With this in mind a small group has already been specially formed to oversee the project. Apart from deciding what work has to be done and appointing a reputable company to restore the organ, it will be responsible for liaising with other contractors such as electricians and builders as well as the all-important publicity and fundraising. It is believed the project will cost many tens of thousands of pounds, but in the end the church will be rewarded with possessing one of the finest pipe organs in the area, which will be appreciated not only by parishioners but also the wider community.
We are planning to apply for grants from suitable organisations including the Heritage Lottery Fund for help towards the organ restoration project, but local fund-raising events will of course also be very important. We hope to invite people of all ages to take an interest in one of Glemsford's heritage assets through programmes to publicise and inform the village of this jewel in its midst. Our vision is to end up with an instrument of which the village can be proud and to make it widely available for recitals and perhaps organ lessons for those interested in acquiring a new skill.
Understandably progress has ground to a halt during the present lockdown, although administrative work has continued in the background to secure quotes from contractors who will be able to visit the site when normality resumes. Meanwhile we still need donations to allow the work to continue, and to that end we operate a Gift Aid scheme which will increase your donation by 25% at no extra cost to you. Finally we would welcome any suggestions or offers of help from individuals and the community, particularly on the road to raise enough money to restore our wonderful pipe organ to its former glory.
For further information, please contact Patrick Hemphill at [email protected]