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The Selby Abbey Organ Appeal

Selby Abbey Organ Appeal


Why the Selby Abbey Organ Appeal was launched?

The Selby Abbey Organ was built by William Hill and Son in 1909, one of England’s foremost organ builders.  At the time, it was considered the best that money could buy.  The Hill organ was brought to international prominence by the recordings of world-famed Italian organist, Fernando Germani the Pope’s organist, during the 1960s.  His iconic LPs of Franck, Reger, Bach and Widor display the stunning sounds of the organ, brilliantly captured by HMV’s top recording team.  A CD is available, please contact the Appeal Office for details. These famous interpretations spread the superb Selby sound around the world.  The Abbey organ had been patched and repaired a number of times but the rate of deterioration made it clear that it was nearing the end of its active life.  Within 5 years, this world-famous instrument could well have been unplayable.

The Selby Abbey Organ Appeal was launched in June 2012 to raise £675,000 to conserve and restore the Abbey’s Hill organ.  This organ is as large as some of the biggest Cathedral organs in the country and therefore cost just as much to restore to health and sonic splendour.


The work of the Selby Abbey Organ Appeal

The Selby Abbey Organ Appeal approached Charitable Trusts, businesses and private donors to begin the process of raising funds for its project.  Over £300,000 was initially raised towards its target.  The Selby Abbey Organ Appeal has a dedicated website and an on-line Benefactors’ Book, reached through the website.  The Benefactors’ Book has two principal functions, firstly it is hoped that all those who read it will share the information as widely as possible amongst their friends and colleagues, an appropriate tab is provided, and of course there also is an opportunity to donate through the Appeal’s Just Giving page.  Any donors who log on can leave an appropriate message in perpetuity if they so wish and the Benefactors’ Book will become the official record of the appeal.


Restoration and maintenance

The challenge of raising such a considerable sum in the current economic climate was a formidable one. 

Thanks to the support of organ enthusiasts from around the world and the generosity of local donors and benefactors, the appeal reached its target and the complex organ restoration was completed in 2016.  Once again, the Selby Abbey Hill has been returned to its best and restored for future generations to enjoy.

The Selby Abbey organ was re-consecrated by the appeal’s patron, the Archbishop of York on the 21st of July 2016 and a Grand Celebration Concertwas held on 9th September 2016 to mark the culmination of the Appeal.

The burden of maintaining the Selby Abbey organ in prime condition falls on the congregation, supporters and the generosity of visitors to the Abbey.   If you wish to help with funding this essential work, please visit the Appeal website or email the Appeal Director, Jeremy Gaskell.