Cash boost for organ project

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Significant Heritage Lottery Fund support has been awarded to help restore Stony Stratford’s Willis Pipe Organ.

£82,700 has been granted for the project, which will focus on restoring the manual organ, researching and interpreting its history,and producing audio visual, print and online learning resources to enable exploration of the organ and its history.

It was originally built in 1882 by ‘Father’ Willis, one of the most famous Victorian organ builders.

It was enhanced by his son, and grandson Henry Willis III in 1932, before being moved from its original position in Edinburgh to Stony Stratford, in 1967.

While it a great example or an organ, plenty of restoration of the basic mechanism and pipework is necessary, which will be paid for by the grant.

Once complete, Stony Stratford will be one of only a few parishes in the county to have a fully functioning Willis III church organ.

Father Ross Northing, Rector of the parish of Stony Stratford with Calverton is thrilled with the news.

“It’s not only good news for the parish family, but for all the people of Milton Keynes, especially present and future musicians,” he said.

“We are delighted to be involved in this truly community based project to save this historic Willis Pipe organ.

“The restoration and preservation of the instrument and its history will ensure current and future generations will be able to enjoy this special heritage feature in Milton Keynes for years to come,” added Stuart McLeod, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South East.

> A meeting is planned for April 5 to explain more about the project.

It will be held at 3pm in the parish hall adjoining St Mary and St Giles Church.