Organ returns in time for Easter service


Staff reporter (Border Counties)

A BURST of sound erupted just in time for Easter after an Oswestry church welcomed back its 140-year-old organ.
The musical feature at St Oswald’s Parish Church had been sent away for vital repairs costing £160,000 in November, last year.
It means the organ’s atmospheric sounds will continue for at least another 100 years.
Musical director, Mike Donkin said: “It sounds absolutely brilliant
“It still has the original pipework dating back to 1875, so we have returned to the basic sound of the instrument and that’s important because it was built by William Hill, one of the greatest organ builders of his time.
“But it’s like a car, it has to be eased in, so we’re not going to be going at it full pelt for the next couple of months,” he added.
The restoration work was undertaken by organ builders, Nicholson’s, based in Malvern, who dismantled it at the start of December and lent the church two manual electronic instruments during the interim.
It followed a race against time for the group who had been fundraising since 2007, but battled to raise the final amount with just 14 months to go, and were unfortunate not to reach the extra £10,000 which would have seen the organ moved and additional pipework added to exaggerate the sound in the nave.
But Mr Donkin said they would still aim to add a new tremulant if funds come in.
His wife, Veronica, who is the organist at the church was unable to play the organ at the first service, but will be returning to her stool later this year and is “very pleased” at the sound of the restored organ.

LEFT: Mike Donkin, musical director at St Oswald’s Parish Church, with the refurbished organ.             Picture: Care Johnson

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