Pipe organ restored in three year project for community

Willis Pipe Organ - Anna Page, Dave King and Lesley Salter with the plaque on the organ about the project.
Willis Pipe Organ - Anna Page, Dave King and Lesley Salter with the plaque on the organ about the project.

A three-year project in Stony Stratford to restore a historic church organ and create a scheme to involve the community has reached a finale.

The wonderful Willis Pipe Organ at St Mary and St Giles Church has been given a new lease of life thanks to Heritage Lottery Funding.

Willis Pipe Organ in St Mary and St Giles Church.

Willis Pipe Organ in St Mary and St Giles Church.

Music for All @ SMSG has just announced that the restoration and reach-out project has been completed and signed off by the HLF.

The project has seen the restoration taken place with hundreds of people able to view work in progress, research made into the organ’s history and a DVD created, welcomed hundreds of pupils to visit and organised a community music programme. A volunteer group has been trained to support education and community activities.

All this has taken place after the HLF awarded a grant of £82,700 to the PCC in 2014.

The Willis Pipe Organ was orginally built by ‘Father’ Willis in 1882, a famous Victorian organ builder, and moved from Edinburgh to Stony Stratford in 1967.

Jacob Collins plays the Willis Pipe Organ

Jacob Collins plays the Willis Pipe Organ

Fr Ross Northing said: “The rector, churchwardens and Parochial Church Council are very grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund, the huge number of volunteer fundraisers and the countless people who have supported fundraising events to ensure that our Willis Pipe Organ is not only fully refurbished but also brought up to its full specification.”

Among many music events will be a Pipe Organ Festival on September 8-10. Visit www.musicforallsmsg.org/whats-on