Peterborough church organ blaze will not stop Easter services, canon says

image captionCanon Ian Black with the damaged church organ

A 100-year-old church organ that went up in smoke, causing a Palm Sunday congregation to be evacuated, could cost up to £80,000 to fix or replace.

The blower pump overheated, filling St John the Baptist Church in Peterborough with "acrid smoke" .

Canon Ian Black said it was "very dramatic" but no-one was injured.

He said a grand piano had been brought in for Easter "as there's no way we'd let something like this stop us celebrating Christ's resurrection".

"That is the heart of our faith so that will go ahead regardless," the canon said.

image copyrightRichard Rogerson/Geograph
image captionPeople inside the city centre church had to be evacuated on Sunday evening

The fire was caused by an electrical fault but the extent of damage to the organ is not yet known.

"There was smoke pouring out of the [blower pump] chamber and clearly the fire brigade was called and we had to evacuate the church as there was too much smoke inside," he said.

Sponsor a pipe

Canon Black said he hoped the organ would be covered by the church's insurance, however, repairs could cost as little as £1,000 or as much as £80,000 depending on what needed to be done.

"We were going to have an appeal anyway to do some work on the organ, so we need to do that a bit more quickly now."

The church is asking people to help by sponsoring an organ pipe. A "flute" will cost £10, he said.

"If you feel like a big fanfare you can sponsor a 'trumpet' for £50 and if you really want the big parade you can have all 76 [pipes] for £5,700."

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