Generous legacy enables major church organ rebuild

A parish church organ is to be rebuilt at a cost of more than £100,000, after the congregation was gifted a huge legacy.

St Andrew's Penrith church organ before work began to remove the instrumentWork has just started at St Andrew’s Penrith to remove the organ so that it can be overhauled completely.

The last major refit of the instrument, dating from 1870, was completed 44 years ago and in 1990 it was cleaned at a cost of £30,000.

The Rev’d David Sargent, Team Rector, said: “Ever since I came to the parish – which was nine years ago - we have been aware of the fact that this work would have to be done.

“Old bits of the instrument can wear out – some of the leatherwork on the bellows goes back to the original instrument – and as new technology develops these changes can be incorporated in the overhaul.”

The work comes after the church received an £80,000 legacy towards the upkeep of the church pipe organ from the late Donald Richardson of Richardson’s Funeral Directors, Penrith.

David explained: “The legacy does stipulate that no money can be spent on electronic instruments and instead must only be spent on our traditional church organ. Donald had a real love of the traditional church music and he was a stalwart of church worship.

“It is wonderfully generous of him to lea

Scaffolding now surrounds the organ as work begins to dismantle it

ve such a large amount of money to enable the tradition he valued and loved to continue for many years to come.”


The work is expected to cost £110,000, with reserves from the church’s Organ Fund, private donations and fundraising events securing the extra money needed.

Currently, scaffolding surrounds the organ at St Andrew’s as work continues to dismantle it. Specialist contractors will then complete an overhaul of all parts at their Wakefield factory, prior to the instrument being returned.

It’s hoped that the organ will be returned just after Easter, with a further six weeks of work to refit the instrument.

As a temporary measure, the church has bought a good quality, electronic organ to use during services, until their original instrument is back in place.

A further fundraising event will be held for the Organ Fund on Sunday 18 January at 2.30pm when members of the Edinburgh Musical Medics perform. Half of all money raised will go towards the Organ Fund and the balance will go to fund the work of St Andrew’s Mission Partners working in medical care in India.

Tickets cost £5 plus £2 for afternoon tea and will be available on the door or by contacting the Parish Office on 01768 862867.

And a special concert is scheduled to take place on Sunday 6 September when Ian Tracey, ‘Organist Titulaire’ at Liverpool Cathedral will perform on the rebuilt organ.

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For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07984 927434, 01228 815401 or at communications@ carlislediocese.org.uk.