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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 April 2007, 18:08 GMT 19:08 UK
Piano crash was 'worst nightmare'
The concert grand strikes a note of discord as it takes a tumble

The organiser of a Devon music festival has spoken of her horror at seeing a 45,000 grand piano fall off the back of a removal firm's lorry.

About 100 supporters of the Two Moors Festival had raised money for the piano which was to be a main attraction at Penny Adie's home near South Molton.

But when the instrument, regarded as the "Rolls Royce of pianos", was being lifted off the lorry, it crashed over.

"It was horrendous, like 10 honky-tonk pianos together," said Mrs Adie.

'Smashed to smithereens'

The piano had been bought at the bargain price of 26,000 at auction in London and had been due to be played at this year's spring festival.

It was a Laurel and Hardy-style disaster, all of a sudden you see your dream piano smashed to smithereens
Penny Adie

Mrs Adie said: "I was like a child before Christmas.

"It was going to be so magical for the festival to have its own piano, a dream come true."

The piano was being lifted from a hydraulic lift on a removal lorry when it toppled over and fell 8ft (2.5m) before landing on a bank, causing extensive damage to the instrument.

The moments before and after the fall were captured on camera by Mrs Adie, 54, who was hoping to record a highpoint for the festival.

"This was my worst nightmare," she said.

"It was a Laurel and Hardy-style disaster, all of a sudden you see your dream piano smashed to smithereens."

Penny Adie
Penny Adie said she spent an "awful lot" of other people's money

The piano, which has been returned to London, is due to be inspected on Friday for an independent assessment of the damage.

"It was an accident that never should have happened," said Mrs Adie.

"It was terribly sad and very unfortunate.

"I spent an awful lot of other people's money."

The piano was insured, but only for the 26,000 which was paid for it at auction in London rather than its likely replacement value of 45,000.

'Totally shocked'

Mrs Adie's husband John, 61, said: "Bosendorfers are like the Stradivarius of the piano world.

"It's more than money that is the issue here. They are simply irreplaceable."

Brian Haigh of removals firm G&R, said: "I was totally shocked, that's all I can say. I've never felt as bad.

"I have been removing pianos for 25 years and that was my worst moment."

Mr and Mrs Adie set up the Two Moors Festival in 2001 to help the area recover from the foot-and-mouth crisis.

The two-year long campaign to raise the cash for the piano was spearheaded by Sophie, Countess of Wessex, who is the event's patron.

See more on Penny Adie's reaction



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