PARISHIONERS who have become used to the unique sound of an historic pipe organ at St Paul’s Church in Whiteshill, Stroud, were delighted to be awarded a multi-thousand pound grant to restore the instrument.

The Heritage Lottery Fund donated £20,500 towards the cost of renovating the organ, which produces sound using only a single reed and is one of only a handful of its kind still in its original state today.

Additional grants from the Cecil Adams Organ Trust, the Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust and generous donations by parishioners raised sufficient funds for the Whiteshill Parochial Church Council to undertake the work.

Built in 1876 by John Nicholson and later moved to its present position from the Lady Chapel in 1926, the organ has only benefited from occasional tuning since then and is in desperate need of a major overhaul.

"A thankful anthem rang out as our organist of over 50 years, Pat Middleton, heard of the generous grant," said the Rev Brian Woollaston, Vicar of St Paul’s and chairman of the Whiteshill PCC.

"Worship will now continue to be accompanied by its excellent acoustics, which is popular for weddings."

As long-term organist at the church, Pat has recently began passing her skills onto trainee player Luke Bailey, 18.

Due to commence later this year, the restoration work is part of a wider project by the PCC, which also aims to publish a booklet on the history of St Paul’s and its daughter church, the Church of the Holy Spirit in Paganhill.