Tom hopes to restore rare organ

Tom Blake, Boothby Pagnell Church Organ.
Tom Blake, Boothby Pagnell Church Organ.
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A CHURCH warden at Boothby Pagnell is on a mission to raise £35,000 to restore the organ at St Andrew’s Church in the village.

The organ, which was made by Robert Hope-Jones in around 1897, is very rare.

Warden Tom Blake said: “It’s a very special organ. There are probably only about two or three working in this country.”

Although the organ does work it was converted into a pneumatic organ some years ago, which means it is affected by damp and the keys have started to stick.

Tom wants to put the organ back to its original state and make it electric again.

He was inspired to start raising money to restore the organ when his daughter got married at the church.

He said: “My daughter was due to get married at 3.30pm. At about 2.15pm I wandered through the church. The organist was looking perplexed because one of the notes was sticking.”

Tom, who had already had the organ fixed once, quickly rang an expert who rushed to the church and fixed the organ as the guests arrived.

He said: “He managed to fix it and it made a lovely noise.

“It’s important to restore it because it’s part of the church’s heritage.”

Tom is hoping that after the organ is fixed people will travel from all over the country to play it.

The fund-raising is set to begin on Thursday, April 14, at 7pm with an organ recital and musical evening featuring Geoff Winter and his daughter Helen.

Tom said: “There are not many people brave enough to play it before it gets mended. It will be a bit of a feat to play it but it produces a jolly good sound.”

The evening will start with wine and canapes.

For more information on the fund-raising or to get a ticket call Tom Blake on 01476 585898 or just turn up on the night.