SVA gives £7,500 backing to organ project

The Sid Vale Association hand over a donation for the Sidholme Organ Appeal. Ref shs 3141-29-15AW. P

The Sid Vale Association hand over a donation for the Sidholme Organ Appeal. Ref shs 3141-29-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

An ongoing appeal to restore a 160-year-old musical instrument at a Sidmouth hotel has had a £7,500 boost from Britain’s oldest civic society.

The organ at the Sidholme Hotel was built for the use of the Earl of Buckinghamshire in the 1850s but has been deteriorating for years. For the last six months, Budleigh Salterton-based organ builder Michael Farley has spent many hours making replacement parts to restore the historic mechanism – and it will soon be completed. Appeal organiser John McGregor said: “It will be a joy to listen to the restored instrument.”

The hotel has long been fundraising for its restoration by hosting concerts. The boost came from the Keith Owen Fund, which is managed by the Sid Vale Association.

Sameer Velyudhan, Sidholme’s operations manager, said: “The music room is a special feature of our hotel, and part of Sidmouth’s history. We hope that students of organ music make use of it and the music room will once again become a popular venue for organ and choral music.”