PEOPLE are being asked to help fund an ambitious refurbishment of a 160-year-old church organ.

St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Upton is trying to raise £50,000 to restore its organ, which was built in 1852 by Malvern organ maker Nicholson and Co.

The organ was last refurbished in the 1950s and church officials say it is now in serious need of work to bring it up to modern standards.

A fund-raising drive was launched in October and has already raised more than £5,500.

But it is thought the church will have to raise at least half of the £50,000 itself, with the remainder potentially coming from grant applications.

To help push the total, a new fund-raising initiative is being launched for the start of the new year.

Churchgoers and anyone in Upton keen to support their church are being asked to sponsor the cleaning of one of the organ’s 1,400 individual pipes for a donation of £10.

Churchwarden Adrian Taylor said that if each and every pipe can attract a sponsor it will put the church well on track to apply for grants from the likes of English Heritage. He said it is hoped the refurbishment will protect the long-term future of an important part of Upton’s history.

“The organ has been in continuous use ever since the 1850s and has been in constant use over the Christmas period for the many services that have taken place,” he said. “With the work envisaged in the project, it will be available for another 150-plus years for the benefit of all parishioners, whether or not they are regular.”

Mr Taylor said the project will need the support of the community to succeed.

“A comparatively few people are working very hard to keep the church in good condition and repair so that it is available to all parishioners,” he said.

“It is their church and the few people who are working so hard to keep it going now need help from the community to ensure that the organ will always be there.”

Anyone who would like to sponsor a pipe can make cheques payable to Upton Parish Church Organ Fund and deliver them to the church office at Still Waters bookshop, High Street, along with their own details.

Donations can also be made by bank transfer. For more details or to discuss the project further call Mr Taylor on 01684 592158.