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Organ removal row as historic instrument sold for scrap 'out of the blue'
6:00am Monday 21st October 2013 in News
Debate over the removal of St Keverne Church’s organ rumbled on when the parish councillors met with representatives from the church.
Members pulled out all the stops to indicate how upset they were that the organ had been removed from the church and sold for scrap, as part of the redevelopment of the building – they feel without their knowledge.
Chairman Roger Combe told vicar Rev Peter Sharpe and verger Bob Bevan: “It was quite out of the blue to members that this had happened.
We represent the parishioners and there has been a lot of disquiet among them, whether they go to church or not, that an historic part of the church has been removed.”
Councillor Bill Frisken said members were getting “the flack” about the decision, because the public did not know who to go to.
He added: “Most of the parish council have lived here for many, many generations and have very strong feelings regarding the church.”
Mr Frisken said the council had previously been assured by a member of the PCC, when there was initial concern about the removal of the organ, that councillors would be consulted and “informed directly”.
However Mr Bevan said when he was asked to coordinate the project “at no point” did anyone suggest he should go back to the council.
His feeling was that the music and organ in the church was the PPC’s responsibility.
He stressed that the redevelopment of the church had been going on “a long time,” with the PCC discussing the idea of putting a dressing area in the east corner – therefore necessitating the removal of the organ – since 2009.
Mr Bevan added that the organ no longer worked, the costs to repair and restore it would be prohibitive and it had not been used since 2010, when an electric keyboard was given to the church.
“In August 2013 we started to remove it because we had no opposition,” he said.
Councillor David Lambrick believed the organ was “part of the fabric of St Keverne Church” and questioned why the notice of intent was only placed in the church rather than on the parish notice board, claiming: “You are basing your findings on four per cent of the parish.”
Rev Sharpe said: “It was a surprise for me to find it had caused concern. I do think there was a logical reason why the organ should be removed.”
He asked for anyone with concerns to contact him directly, adding: “I can’t respond to something I don’t know about.”
Councillor Russell Peters believed the organ and pipes were aesthetically important to the church, if not musically, and that with the “right professional advice” the keyboard could have incorporated.
“I feel quite honestly that it was mishandled. I think that’s why the parishioners and indeed parish council are concerned as to what has happened.
“The problem is we can’t go back,” he added.
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