Stroud Life report this week that the rare pipe organ at Whiteshill Parish Church is in for a major overhaul thanks to £20,000 of lottery funding. Here's how they report it:
Photo: From Stroud Life
The historic musical instrument at St Paul's Church is significant because it produces sound using only a single reed, vicar the Reverend Brian Woollaston said. "It is one of the very few of these organs remaining in their original state today," he said. Built in 1876, the organ had since really only had regular tuning and was in need of attention, Rev Woollaston said. The restoration, the major part of a wider project, will be undertaken thanks to £20,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, generous donations by parishioners, and grants from the Cecil Adams Organ Trust and Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust. Rev Woollaston said the congregation and the church community had raised a further £20,000, which was matched by the lottery cash. The total cost is £40,000.
The project also aims to publish a book covering the history of the church and of its daughter church the tin Church of the Holy Spirit at Paganhill. Head of the Heritage Lottery's south west region, Nerys Watts, said: "This will not only restore this rare musical instrument to full use but will also provide opportunities for the communities of Whiteshill and Paganhill to find out about and celebrate their history and heritage." Research into the history of the two churches and their features will begin immediately and the restoration of the pipe organ will take place later this year. The Parochial Church Council wants to hear from anyone who has knowledge of either church, or who recalls personal associations and events, is asked to contact Mr Woollaston on 01453 764757 or churchwarden Michael Bailey on 01453 762 510.
Organist has played for 60 years
FOR organist Pat Middleton, the restoration will be the crowning glory of a lifetime at the keys and pedals of the St Paul's organ. Now 71, she progressed from the piano to the organ at the age of 11 at St Paul's daughter church, the Holy Spirit in Paganhill. "I came here to St Paul's for lessons when I was 14," she said. Following in her footsteps is Luke Bailey, 18, who lives in Whiteshill. He is studying for Grade 8 piano and hopes to study at the Royal Academy of Music. "I want to learn the organ and I hope I can learn here," said the St Peter's school, Gloucester student. It's such an interesting instrument."