Ormskirk Parish Church launch appeal for £150,000 repair of organ
ORMSKIRK Parish Church has launched an appeal to secure funds for a £150,000 repair of its organ – before it is too late.
The 3,356 pipe organ – the largest in Lancashire and second only in size to Liverpool Cathedral’s organ within the Liverpool Diocese – is in dire need of repair.
And while much of the work is eligible for grant support, every effort is needed to raise funds within the community to support the project, according to Mark Rawsthorn, who invited the Advertiser to a tour of the inner workings of the organ, which in its current form dates back to the 1800s.
Explaining how the appeal came about, he said: “I arrived last February and soon realised the state it was in. It sounds good from the outside but inside it’s an accident waiting to happen, so we decided to do something about it before it’s too late.”
Mr Rawsthorn pointed out a number of holes starting to appear inside, with some of the pipes dating back to the 1700s. Many soft leather parts under high wind pressure have cracked, leading to wind leaking out. Warped wood is causing parts to jam, and the only remedy is to restore all the working parts. If left unattended, further damage could lead to costs far higher than £150,000 – a new organ of a similar size would cost over £1m.
Mr Rawsthorn said: “This is part of Ormskirk’s heritage. dating back to before 1552. It’s not to do with the church or music, it’s to do with the town. “Organs were a form of civic pride, that’s why people were always building bigger and better ones. A lot of love, care and effort has been put into it over the years and it would be a shame to abandon it.”
As part of the appeal, the church has set up a sponsor-a-pipe scheme with pipes available from £10-£100. Tomorrow (Friday) the church will host a concert by the Occasional Singers choir, which starts at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £6 and £4 concessions. Then on November 3 there will be an organ recital for the official appeal launch, tickets £7.50, with all funds raised going towards the appeal.