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Gosport's 'Handel Organ' in need of repairs
The Handel Organ
The Handel Organ has been renovated and moved over the years

A Hampshire church is attempting to raise funds for urgent repairs to its historical organ described as a "national treasure".

The organ at Holy Trinity Church in Gosport can be traced back to 1720 when it was owned by the Duke Chandos who employed the world-famous composer, George Frederic Handel.

A bid for lottery funding has been made to pay part of the cost of renovation.

Director of music Geoffrey Holroyde said the organ has "a wonderful sound".

'Handel Organ'

The organ contains eight original 18th Century stops - which control air pressure to the pipes and create the instrument's sounds.

The organ was built for the Duke of Chandos in 1720. Handel was the duke's composer-in-residence and would have advised on its building.

It was later bought by the church at an auction and installed in 1748.

Known as the "Handel Organ", it has been enlarged and added to over the years - the current workings of the organ date from 1897.

BBC Songs of Praise presenter Pam Rhodes described it as a "national treasure".

Geoffrey Holroyde
Geoffrey Holroyde has noticed the organ's performance fading due to its age

Mr Holroyde said: "We are lucky that eight of the stops have ended up here... it's a 300-year-old experience".

However the complex workings are beginning to show the signs of age - older pipes have distorted and the leather parts are starting to crack as they dry out.

Mr Holroyde said: "The wind is simply not getting to some of the pipes."

The church has put in a bid for £156,000 of lottery funding towards the cost of replacing the works, estimated at £200,000.

The church has also been running fundraising schemes including encouraging donors to "adopt a pipe".

Mr Holroyde said: "With the works replaced, it'll be fine for the next 100 years."

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