Major fundraising appeal launched to restore Norwich Cathedral’s organ
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Norwich Cathedral's impressive organ and choristers have been the heart and soul of the landmark's musical life for generations, and now a major fundraising appeal is under way to ensure they continue to fill its historic surrounds with inspirational song long into the future.
The cathedral has launched a £2.5m Music Appeal with the aim of raising £1.8m to fund a full restoration of the organ and a further £700,000 to support the cathedral's boy and girl choristers and expand its musical work in the wider community.
And the ambitious appeal has also received royal backing, with the Earl of Wessex named as its patron.
On the importance of the appeal, the Dean of Norwich, the Very Rev Jane Hedges, said: 'Music plays an incredibly important part in our lives, partly because it is there for the worship but also in terms of outreach in the community. There are so many big occasions in which the music plays a central part. It is difficult to imagine life in the cathedral without music, it is just fundamental to everything we do.'
While there are references to an organ at Norwich Cathedral dating back to the 14th century, the current organ was first installed in 1889 but it was devastated by a fire that broke out during an Evensong in April 1938.
Despite the outbreak of the Second World War, a project to rebuild the organ was completed in the 1940s - the last time major work was undertaken on the instrument which is one of the largest organs in the country.
Today the organ - which has 6,655 pipes and 105 speaking stops - is used for some 1,500 services each year as well as special events and concerts.
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The Dean said: 'The organ needs rebuilding because it hasn't been rebuilt for 75 years and, although it sounds wonderful, it is only because our organists are so skillful that they manage to work round all the problems with it. If we don't do the rebuild very soon the organ will have major problems.'
She said the appeal had already raised about £650,000 from donations from members of the congregation, Friends of Norwich Cathedral, legacies and other funds.
'It's a good start and now we are hoping people in the community will be inspired to support this and we will also be going out to trusts and charities for grants,' she said.
For more information about how you can contribute to the appeal, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.cathedral.org.uk