Sulgrave’s 124-year-old restored organ to sing again after 10 years of silence

The newly restored organ at St James the Less Church, Sulgrave. Andrew Dixon and Libbie Foster, members of the organ restoration committee. NNL-160612-144816009
The newly restored organ at St James the Less Church, Sulgrave. Andrew Dixon and Libbie Foster, members of the organ restoration committee. NNL-160612-144816009
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A church organ which has been gathering dust will be played for the first time in 10 years following its restoration.

The organ, at St James the Less Church, in Sulgrave, was built in 1892 and was purchased by the church in 1975.

A fundraising campaign aims to raise £40,000 to bring it back to its former glory with around £30,000 raised so far.

The restoration has already been carried out and the remainder of the funding will be spent on its maintenance as well as the creation of a scholarship for someone to learn how to play the organ.

Libbie Foster, member of the organ restoration committee, said: “It’s no good having an organ without someone to play it and if we can find someone who would like to come and learn to play, that would be lovely.

“It has not been played for 10 years.”

The organ is to be played for the first time in a decade at the church’s carol service, on December 18, at 3pm.

Someone will be needed to play the organ on a twice weekly basis for church services and for special events and concerts in the village.

Anyone interested in the scholarship does not need to have musical experience, just the commitment to learn to play.

During its restoration, the organ was taken completely to pieces with all 593 pipes, ranging in height from an inch to 8 feet, removed, cleaned, polished and where necessary given a new ‘tuning slide’ made of tin. The leatherwork has been replaced with high quality white sheepskin, and the woodwork cleaned, waxed and polished.

Mrs Foster said: “It has been amazing. The community has got behind the project and so far we have raised more than half the total funds, just from contributions from the community. That has been amazing for a small village.”

Anyone wanting to donate money to the project can do so by visiting www.sulgravepipeorgan.co.uk and clicking on the donation button on the right hand side.

Brochures, with a gift aid form are also available from the village.

The organ was built by James Jephson Binns of Leeds, one of the most successful Yorkshire organ builders of his time.

The organ’s original location was Peterborough Cathedral Choir School.