Donington in race against time to get church organ fixed in time for Flinders' homecoming
Donington has been given more reason to expect a huge tourism boost sparked by the homecoming of its most famous son, explorer Matthew Flinders.
The reburial in the church of the man who named Australia and mapped its coastline is expected to take place in the second half of next year.
Jane Pearson, from the Matthew Flinders Bring Him Home group, has spoken with officials from the Flinders University in Adelaide, who would like Donington to be the base for a gathering of its former students who now live in the UK- and that potentially involves up to 2,000 people.
Jane said: "We believe this could be just the tip of the tourism expansion that the village will see."
The university's vice chancellor Colin Sterling has also indicated that he would like to attend the church service when the mortal remains of Matthew Flinders are reburied following their discovery in January by HS2 archaeologists in London.
While delighted about Matthew's return, the St Mary and the Holy Rood Church is in a race against time to find around £6,600 to repair its 19th Century organ so it can be played at the most important service in living memory.
Jane, who is also parochial church council (PCC) treasurer, said: "The organ is in regular use and organist Marie Potter does her very best with it to support all services and funerals etc as required - however Marie and the PCC have been aware for some time that things aren't as good as they should be with the organ.
"The annual review is always undertaken by local specialist Nick Pitts, of Pinchbeck, who suggested that it is time for a more substantial review. "
The further review led to another specialist Paul Hale writing a report saying "among other things, none of the foot pedals work and the mice have done quite a bit of damage".
The organ dates back to 1864, andit is attributed to the work of two highly regarded organ craftsmen.
Jane said: "Paul's report has been submitted to a company that knows the organ at Donington very well - Hind and Aistrup - who completely dismantled and overhauled it the 1980s.
"Their indication for fixing this back into full working order is £5,500 plus VAT - which gives the church a huge challenge.
"Given that in the approximate mid 2020 the Church will be holding probably the highest profile services in its history - with worldwide media interest - how do we get it fixed?"
Jane said the church is really keen to hear of any help, suggestions, ideas or offers to get the repairs funded.
Anyone who with any ideas or offers is invited to email Jane at firstname.lastname@example.org
* Matthew's return to Donington is supported by his direct descendants, who visited the church earlier this year for a service commemorating his life and work.
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More by this authorLynne Harrison