GENEROUS families have raised more than £64,000 to breathe new life into an old church organ.

Major repairs are set to be undertaken to a Victorian pipe organ at St Nicholas Church, in Long Road, Canvey, which will enable it to last for another 100 years.

The run-down instrument is the last traditional organ on the island.

Parishioners have funded various patchwork repairs to the organ over the past 30 years since buying it secondhand, but say a complete refurbishment is now desperately needed to keep it running and improve the sound quality.

Volunteers have spent more than seven years raising money for the restoration.

Funding has been provided through public donations and charitable events, after the church was refused financial backing from the Heritage Lottery fund due to red tape.

The lottery foundation claimed it could not support the project as it would involve improving the organ, not restoring it to a historical state.

The Rev Marion Walford said: “People have been really generous in helping us raise this money and we are so thankful to them. Although we have a piano, which is beautiful, you can do so much more with a church organ because it helps create that certain type of atmosphere.

“At the moment we cannot rely on the organ for any major events, which is a shame, so restoring it will have a big impact on the congregation.”

Fundraising efforts are also close to complete for a new community stained glass window at the church which will serve as a memento to the people of the island.

Families can sponsor one of the window’s 1,038 shards to have their names engraved in memory of an important event or loved one.

The congregation is hoping to have all the shards sponsored by April 30, so the new windows can be installed while the organ is away for repair.

Residents can sponsor a piece by contacting the church on 01268 511098 and filling out an application form.