Rare Bevington barrel organ brought back to life after 40 years

FORTY years of silence has been replaced by the beautiful sound of music after a church organ was restored to its former glory.

St Andrews Church’s in Barnston is home to a very rare Bevington barrel organ, one of only six it of its kind in the country.

Two years after churchwardens found the cash to restore the organ, it has been pieced back together in the church’s gallery, awaiting the congregation to hear its splendour.

Churchwarden Erica Nunn, who has managed the �16,000 project, said: “We are thrilled to have the barrel organ back in the church and we can’t wait to start using it in services because it makes such a beautiful sound – it’s very special.

“It has not been played since 1969 because the bellows were broken so it has been sitting there, not doing anything as we haven’t been able to use it.

“That’s why it is fantastic to have it back and I hope people will come to see it and have a go – anyone can do it because all you have to do is turn a handle to create that lovely sound.”

She added: “I would like to thank Viridor Waste Management who funded the project. Without them none of this would have been possible.”

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Professional organ builder Michael Young, along with his assistant Paul Burling-Burnell, was the man behind the restoration and he was delighted with the end result.

“It is the first barrel organ I have ever worked on and being only one of six surviving Bevington’s makes it a special instrument,” he said. “As we have been progressing we have found out what it has been through in its life – the alterations that have been made and in what sequence they were made. I’m really pleased with it.

“It has been silent for 40 years, but not any more.”

The church is holding a concert on September 29 where the organ will be played to the general public for the first time. To get a closer look at the organ, contact churchwardens Mrs Nunn by e-mail, ericaenunn@yahoo.co.uk, or Anne Frame, anneframe@hotmail.com.