Future of Sunderland church’s organ in doubt again as meeting looks to gather city’s views

Make your views count - that’s the call of a community group which claimed a victory to halt the removal of a historic church’s organ as building bosses say its future still remains uncertain.

Monday, 18th February 2019, 5:04 pm
Updated Monday, 18th February 2019, 5:07 pm
Holy Trinity has served the city since the 18th century.

A Save Our Heritage appeal was launched late last year by the ‘Sunderland - East End and Hendon Born and Bred’ Facebook group after the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) said it proposed to remove the instrument from Holy Trinity Church in the East End and pass it on to a German firm.

It changed its decision after the appeal and said it wanted to work with people to decide what happens next.

The organ inside Holy Trinity Church in the East End.

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However, the CCT, which is leading a £4.3 million project to transform the 1719 building into a cultural and community venue, now says the organ’s future in the building is still to be decided due to costs.

It has started to look for a new home for it already.

The inside of Holy Trinity Church.

The CCT will host a public session on Monday, March 11, at Queen Street Masonic Lodge to discuss its next move.

Denise Craig, who helped lead the heritage campaign, said: “It’s important for people to attend so they are aware of what the Church Conservation Trust plans are and how it will affect the church and to put forward their feelings.

“The organ is the most integral and important part of the church and holds a special place in the hearts of the people of Sunderland.

“We would like to thank everyone so far who have signed petitions, sent in objections to the council and supported our fight to Save our Organ.

“The organ is historic, it looks beautiful. Is in good condition and could last centuries if properly maintained.

“We can’t take things for granted and really need as many people as possible at the meeting who want to see the organ saved for future generations.”

The CCT says work will start in May to remove the organ and carry out work to the wall and floor.

Head of regeneration, Karen Houghton-Slater, said: “We want to ensure that the concerns of the local community are heard and acknowledged and we will be holding an open and transparent conversation about the future of the organ.

“We see this as an opportunity to present information around the reasoning behind the application to remove the organ, and the challenges faced with a project of this scale.”

The meeting on March 11 will run from 6pm to 8pm, with a chance to visit the church from 2pm to 4pm.