Hartford church organ appeal hits right note

The organ at All Saints Church, in Hartford, has now been restored.

The organ at All Saints Church, in Hartford, has now been restored. - Credit: Archant

Members of a village church are celebrating after members raised more than £25,000 to restore its historic organ in just six weeks.

Now All Saints, at Hartford, is planning to demonstrate the newly-refurbished organ with a special recital in the summer once the coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

Rector the Rev Geoff Boucher said: “Thank you everyone for your contributions to the All Saints organ fund and for the great sense of community and shared endeavour, even as we have been prevented from meeting together.

“The project has been such an encouragement and a sign of hope. It symbolises our commitment to the future as we look forward to the organ’s return and rededication.”

Treasurer Paul Fearon added: “We started the organ appeal with three legacies totalling £11,500 and have received a total of 59 donations from 48 donors, where couples have been counted as one donor.

“There has been a wonderful spread between donations from the congregation and from the local village community of Hartford. This is even more remarkable given the impact of the Covid pandemic on so many people both financially and in terms of their wellbeing.”

The church launched the £25,475 appeal in mid-October and expects to have the organ returned by repairers, Bower and Co of Norwich, early in the New Year.

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The organ, made by by Hill and Son of London, was originally installed in 1874 at a cost of £205 and was moved to its present position in the chancel around 20 years later.

It was found to be showing its age after nearly 150 years of service and All Saints decided to launch the appeal so that the organ could continue to provide a musical backdrop for many years to come.

Built in its picturesque riverside setting in 1180, the church has seen the organ play a key part in church life, leading the choir and congregation for worship as well as providing joy and comfort at weddings and funerals.