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Historic Leeds organ to get £24,000 for musical makeover

GLEAMING PIPEWORK: Rev Francis McGrath with children from Holy Family Parish School, pictured by the organ at Holy Family Church, Green Lane, Armley. PIC: Simon Hulme

GLEAMING PIPEWORK: Rev Francis McGrath with children from Holy Family Parish School, pictured by the organ at Holy Family Church, Green Lane, Armley. PIC: Simon Hulme

A church in Leeds has struck a chord with the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) after receiving a £24,000 grant to restore its organ.

The Holy Family Church in Armley has now reached its £42,000 target to pay for the work, with the rest of the money coming from public donations.

The Reverend Francis McGrath has been working at the church for 15 years.

He said: “We were delighted when we heard the news because we’ve been working for four years to get the funding.

“We think the organ is 162-years-old, which makes it older than the church itself and it has a unique sound, but there’s a lot of work that needs doing to it.

“Someone said to me ‘why don’t you just buy a new one’ but you can’t buy history like that.

“The restored organ will enhance the whole environment and atmosphere in the church and hopefully we’ll end up with something that will last for another 150 years.

“We also hope that the restoration work will inspire more people to take up playing the organ and we’ll be holding organ open days where people can come and play it themselves.”

Chris Redding is a member of the church and has co-ordinated the restoration project.

He said: “At the moment we’re using a keyboard most of the time, which just isn’t the same. We’re hoping to find out more about who built it when it’s taken apart as it might have initials inside it.

“We’ve been filming inside the organ looking at how it works and we’ll be filming its restoration so that we can make a before, during and after video and make it available as a resource at schools and libraries. One of the sides will also have a clear panel so people can look inside and see how it works.”

Fiona Spiers, head of HLF Yorkshire, said: “The project will help to rejuvenate Holy Family Church and its organ, bringing it back into use and giving a new lease of life to its fascinating history.”

The church hopes the work will be completed by Easter next year.

 

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