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Selby Organ Appeal Half Way to Target


3:36pm 25th March 2013

Selby Abbey organ appeal nearly half way to target.

  • World-famous Edwardian organ needs urgent restoration
  • Generous contributions from many local people
  • Sharing of appeal details online is proving popular
  •  Iconic organ recitals from 1960s to be re-released

The Selby Abbey Organ Appeal, launched in June 2012, is already well ahead of target; the fund currently stands at £300,000 with an estimated further £375,000 to be raised. There are seven major donors and the lead major donor is The Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation which has generously given £100,000. The Prince of Wales' Charitable Foundation has also contributed and there have been many individual donations from local people.

The Abbey's Edwardian-era organ is in urgent need of careful restoration and there is a risk it will be unplayable within five years. It was designed and built specifically for the Abbey in 1909 by William Hill, who was a leading English organ builder of world renown. The Abbey organ is widely regarded as a masterpiece. It has been patched and repaired a number of times but now its mechanisms are worn out and in need of complete refurbishment. Once the money has been raised it will take about 9 months for the work to be done and will mean the organ will be conserved for at least a generation. Organs are still hand-built, using centuries-old techniques with costly raw materials. This organ is as large as the largest cathedral organs in the country and therefore will cost just as much to restore.

The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu is the Appeal patron. He said: "I am delighted the four-year appeal has made such good progress less than a year from its launch. One of the best things about the appeal is the way it has engaged many local people who rightly value the organ both for worship and for enjoyment and are determined that this world-famous instrument should not become unplayable."

The word-of-mouth success of the appeal has partly been achieved by the online benefactors' book in which people can comment and share the book with their friends, pledge donations and sponsor individual pipes. The book is at www.theonlinebookcompany.com/selbyabbey and it will become a permanent record of the appeal and a testament to the way the organ is cherished by music-lovers throughout the UK and abroad.

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