THE coronavirus crisis has seen St Andrew’s Church in Chippenham put fundraising events to help restore its vintage organ on hold.

The church understands the organ is one of only two surviving examples of the Bryce-Seede instrument still is use worldwide.

Retired organist, Geoff Oldnall said: “So far we have raised about £60,000 and our target is between £300-£350,000. We need to have the organ completely taken down and refurbished and converted to electric action.

“It’s been over 40 years since any serious work was done to it and there is an expectancy of 25 years when the organ should have been given attention, so we are long overdue.

“The church organ has been played for baptisms, weddings, funerals, carol services, Remembrance Sundays and civic events for centuries. Now, key parts have worn out, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to play.”

The Rev Rod Key, of St Andrew’s, which is the town’s parish church in the Market Place, said: “We can’t make a bid for the main Lottery funding but we do have a very good fundraising committee.

“We really hope that the wider community sees this as something of historic value to them and something to be proud of and not just for the church congregation.

"It’s going to take us between five and 10 years to gather the funds.

“The organ itself has been out of condition and slowly dying for at least a year now, but this will not affect our immediate services as our talented organists make it sound fantastic.

“There will come a time when we will need to purchase an electric organ, as the main organ will be out of action for at least a year. This will keep us going whilst repairs are being carried out and we will then sell this to add to our funds.

“We are relying very much on the generosity of individuals, companies and groups and we know it’s a big ask. Due to coronavirus, we have had to delay fundraising events until at least the autumn.

“Some events still calendared are an organ recital for October 3, which will also have a promise auction accompanying it. Also on November 7 we have a choir and organ concert and we hope that people will be able to attend. Obviously we will let people know if we have to cancel any of these events.”

Chairman of the organ committee James Adman said: “We have asked organ builders to come and have a look and are consulting with manufacturers.

"It’s one of the greatest treasures of our parish. After being built in 1752, it was expanded by the Victorians in 1879 and is now sadly in need of significant repairs.”

To donate go to or