Appeal to restore organ at St Sampson's Cricklade back to former glory

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Organist Sarah Townsend with the organ at St Sampson's Church in Cricklade that is need of restoration Organist Sarah Townsend with the organ at St Sampson's Church in Cricklade that is need of restoration

ST Sampson’s Church in Cricklade is campaigning to raise £28,000 to restore an organ back to its former glory.

Over the years, dirt, grime, spider webs and bat excrement has blocked the pipes of the 150 year old organ and now renovation work is desperately needed if the instrument is to continue to be used by the church.

Sarah Townsend, the director of music for St Sampson’s and the church organist, said: “Most church organs were built to last but like anything it needs tlc.”

“We need to raise the money to get it back to its former glory.

It is playing well but it would be playing amazingly well if we could get it cleaned. The organ cannot be cleaned without dismantling it and although it has had bits and pieces done it has not undergone any real major renovation work.

“The most urgent work that needs doing is getting it cleaned,” said Sarah.

“The pedal board needs an overhaul and it would be nice to have the original fascia back on it.”

And she added: “It would be nice if we could appeal to people that may have got married in the church to donate as they know what it sounds like.

It is just a wonderful instrument. It is a listed instrument and it is going to stay in the building.”

Sarah, who has played the organ at the church for six years said that although bats have added to the problem they are not the sole cause of the the problem and they were not unwelcome at the church.

So far, the church congregation has secured £1000 from funds set aside by the parochial church council.A fund-raising concert at the church was performed by its choir last week.

St Sampson’s also plans to raise cash by applying for several grants from organisations including Cricklade Town Council and the National Lottery.

The organ, typically played for weddings, funerals and Sunday worship was was built by established organ makers, Nicholson Organs in 1864.

To donate towards the appeal call Sarah on 0786 0439146 or email her at sarahtownsend251@btinternet.com

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