Sunderland organ completes 2,000 mile journey from Holy Trinity Church to new home in Malta
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The Holy Trinity Church organ travelled 2,000 miles from Sunderland before arriving at the Basilica of Christ the King church in Paola, Malta this week.
But now it faces a restoration project before it is ready for use, and experts estimate that will be just before Christmas.
The priest in charge, Father Marc Andre Camilleri said: “We are of course extremely happy that the Holy Trinity Sunderland organ has arrived safely at the Basilica after its 2,000 miles road journey.”
He added: "Currently our organ builder, Giuseppe Mastrovaleria, is cataloguing all the components ready for cleaning and restoration. This process will take several weeks. Once everything is clean and repaired he will start to put the organ back together again.
"We do not expect the completion of the re-build of the instrument until just before Christmas.”
The Maltese community has already vowed that this will be the first thing which is played on the newly-restored organ.
Father Marc added: “Having this fine, historic instrument is a great joy to us. There are many historical links between Malta and the UK and especially for Paola, as many of its residents worked at the Royal Naval shipyard, which was in the parish.
"Indeed the huge growth of Paola parish led directly to the building of the Basilica between the wars. Although the organ galleries were prepared they have, until now, remained sadly empty. So really this is a dream come true.
"Although it was sad for the people of Holy Trinity to lose the the organ, I know they are reassured by the fact that she has been saved from sale as spare parts. "
Father Marc added: “We will love and cherish her and hope that some parishioners will come and visit her in her new home.”