Diocese of Portsmouth

    The Organ Project wins National Lottery support

    17 Dec. 2018

    ST MARY’S Church, Portsea has received initial National Lottery support for The Organ Project, it was announced today. Made possible by National Lottery players, the project focuses activities around the church’s grand pipe organ, with aims to restore, interpret and celebrate its awe-inspiring Victorian heritage.

    Development funding of £32,100 has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help St Mary’s Church progress their plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant in 2019.

    The Organ Project celebrates the heritage associated with 125 years of music making in St Mary’s Church, Portsea. The unique 1889 Walker pipe organ is at the heart of life within the Parish, but is now in a critical condition where interim repairs are no longer sufficient to keep the nationally significant instrument from being lost. The project will engage with local communities, develop volunteer skills and enthuse visitors with an exciting activity and education programme; interpreting the organs history, science, sound and function; making a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities.

    St Mary’s Church is a focal point for the local community, explored by many different groups and communities within the city and further afield. It reaches out to its numerous parishioners and visitors, through its open door policy: welcoming the local community to use its extensive building as a place for non-denominational reflection, music making, education and social activities.

    Completed in 1892, and made possible in part, through a generous gift from W.H. Smith II, First Lord of the Admiralty and founder of the widely known stationery chain, St Mary’s Church has a rich and diverse history. The intricate oak organ case, dedicated in 1901 to those who fell in the Boer War, will be researched and presented by a team of volunteers, to provide a unique interpretation of heritage history.

    Commenting on the award, Fr Bob White, Vicar of St Mary’s said: “It is great to have the support of the National Lottery in helping us to ensure that the Church is able to continue to serve the local and wider community enriched by the music of the Organ. It will be of benefit to all those who gather at St Mary’s for Weddings, Funerals and other celebrations, and the wider cross section of groups and organisations that gather there for concerts and events.” Matt Dixon, Project Manager said: “We are delighted that we’ve received this support, with special thanks to National Lottery players. Music education is so important and underpins our outreach work with young people in Portsmouth. We are excited to have the opportunity to explore, restore and preserve heritage through a range of inspiring and engaging activities with people in our local communities.”

    The project committee invite support, comment and feedback here theorganproject.org.

    Further information

    For further information, images and interviews please contact Matt Dixon at The Organ Project on 023 9319 0998 and theorganproject@portseaparish.co.uk.

    St Mary's Portsea

    Fratton Road, Portsea, PO1 5PH

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