St Mary and St Giles

Pipe Organ Fund Appeal


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Heritage Lottery Fund Award

Supporting the Willis Pipe Organ Restoration and Reach-out Project

In February 2014 the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded a grant to the PCC of the Parish of Stony Stratford with Calverton of £82,700 for the Willis Pipe Organ Restoration & Reach-out project, in St Mary & St Giles Church, Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes.

Led by volunteers from the local community, the project focuses on

  • restoring the 3 manual Willis Pipe Organ,
  • researching and interpreting its history,
  • producing audio visual, print and online learning resources to enable exploration of the organ and its history,
  • creating and delivering an Education and Activities programme,
  • recruiting and training more volunteer organ guides,
  • delivering a Community Music Programme using the organ

The HLF grant funds the education and outreach activities of the new project and enables the commissioning of the work on the organ. The project starts in April; the organ will be restored during 2014-15 and brought back into use in 2015-16, in time to be used in Milton Keynes' 50th birthday celebration in 2017.

The project will enable people of all ages to find out more about the Willis Pipe organ, to research its historical, musical and technical significance and will help organ scholars develop their playing skills. This rare 1882 Willis Pipe Organ will be restored to its 1932 state, to enable players and listeners to experience and enjoy its unique 50-year evolution of pipe sound and technology. A new Digital Information Source will be created to tell the story of this Pipe Organ and its contribution to community life since its installation in Stony Stratford almost fifty years ago in 1967, the year Milton Keynes was designated a New Town. The project will also deliver Learning Resources created with professional support, to enable people of different ages and interests to learn about all aspects of the Willis Pipe Organ and a Reach-out Education Programme for learners of all ages, to extend knowledge and experience of playing a heritage Pipe Organ. As part of the project, the Parish will implement a maintenance plan to ensure a sustainable future for the organ.

There will be many different opportunities to get involved in the project - we'll be looking for historians, teachers and musicians as well as fund-raisers so please get in touch via the Contact form, via @SMSG_organ on Twitter or via the St Mary & St Giles Pipe Organ Restoration Group on Facebook.

See the press release about the Heritage Lottery Fund grant for the project.

Download the Summary of the Project leaflet

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported almost 36,000 projects with more than 5.9bn across the UK.