£50,500 grant to save Fressingfield village’s church organ commissioned by Queen Victoria

The organ at St Peter & St Pauls church in Fressingfield has received £50,500 from the Heritage Lott

The organ at St Peter & St Pauls church in Fressingfield has received £50,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

A magnificent church organ commissioned by Queen Victoria has been thrown a lifeline by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The organ at St Peter & St Pauls church in Fressingfield has received £50,500 from the Heritage Lott

The organ at St Peter & St Pauls church in Fressingfield has received £50,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Children from several local schools take part in the Fressingfield Music Ferstival at the school. Picture: SONYA DUNCAN - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

St Peter and St Paul's church in the village of Fressingfield, east of Diss, has received £50,500 to bring its Father Willis organ back to its former glory.

The money will be used to refurbish the instrument's casement, return its tone and bring it back to its original state.

Rev Susan Loxton, rector, said: 'The organ plays an important role in the worship life of church and is enjoyed by the wider community at weddings, funerals and concerts.

'We are so pleased that we are able to proceed with this restoration with the help of the HLF and our fundraisers.'

Public planning meeting meeting to be called in Fressingfield Picture: SUBMITTED

Public planning meeting meeting to be called in Fressingfield Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant


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Jenny Whitehurst, organ restoration project manager, said: 'We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and know that the organ will continue to enrich the lives of the village and wider community. So many people are involved in the project, learning to appreciate the heritage in the centre of their community.'

The Father Willis organ was commissioned by Queen Victoria and built in 1865 for the Royal Chapel of Savoy in London.

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It remained at the chapel until 1939 when it was bought by the Reverend Thursford Pitt for his church in Fressingfield.

It has served the community for 77 years, but is now in need of urgent attention in order to continue for further generations.

The project will enable many schoolchildren and community groups to explore this musical instrument through research, workshops, specialist talks and musical events.

Several students will also be able to have organ lessons, leaving a 'living legacy' for the project.

The Rt Rev Dr Mike Harrison, Bishop of Dunwich, said: 'Due to the marvellous efforts of many in the church and local community, this extraordinary organ will continue to enrich the worshipping life of many decades to come.

'This is a wonderful example of the church and wider community working in partnership to restore a musical instrument of historic significance.'

Robyn Llewellyn, head of HLF East England, said: 'We are delighted to be involved in this wonderful project to save this historic church organ. Restoring the organ and sharing its history and role in the wider community will ensure that the rich musical traditions of St Peter & St Paul will continue to flourish in years to come.'

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