St Mary’s Church, Fratton Road, Portsmouth, PO1 5PA has received initial National Lottery support for The Organ Project. We are now preparing the bid for the major Phase two.
There will be a retiring collection in aid of The Organ Project.
There will be regular organ recitals at St Mary’s Church during 2019, as follows:
• Thursday February 7th @7.30pm
• Thursday March 7th @7.30pm
• Thursday April 4th @7.30pm
• May’s recital will be incorporated into the May Fayre (2.30pm on Bank Holiday Monday, May 6th)
• Thursday June 6th @7.30pm
• Thursday July 4th @7.30pm
• Thursday August 1st @7.30pm
Further details will be made available closer to these dates. Entry is free and there is a retiring collection.
Development funding of £32,100 has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to help St Mary’s Church progress its plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant in 2019. The goal is to fully restore the Victorian organ to its former glory, to the tune of more than £850,000.
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, interpret the organ’s history, science, sound and function, and make 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.”