It seems that the need for hire organs just keeps on growing as another ‘SOS’ request came in recently from St Martin’s Church Bladon. A call on a Thursday needed an organ installed the next day for a wedding on Saturday following the pipe organ blower failure.
Bladon at least is quite close also being in Oxfordshire. I have passed the church many times and often meant to call in to see the grave of Winston Churchill. Somehow time was always too pressing and a visit to see the great man’s resting place consequently deferred. This organ hire was finally an opportunity to combine business with the visit I had so many times before put off.
St Martin’s Church Bladon and Sir Winston Churchill’s Grave
I was just 9 years old when Sir Winston died but I still remember the black and white TV broadcast of his funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral. His coffin came down the Thames on a boat and if you too are old enough, you may recall the most poignant sight of the dock cranes lowering their jibs in sequence as the boat passed by. Today the cranes too are long gone from that reach of the Thames near Tower Bridge.
Below is a very short film clip of the moment the cranes pay their own respects.
Whatever your view of Winston Churchill’s contribution to the history of our country there is no doubt that he will be forever one of our most striking orators. Who through just the power of the spoken word could inspire courage and effort when circumstances seemed otherwise overwhelmingly grave.
As you see from the photo of his memorial stone taken in late May he is still in many peoples memory more than 70 years after his role in our history ended.
St Martin’s Church in Bladon
But back to St Martin’s and the organ blower. It was understood the motor was on its way out as it became increasingly noisy. The fear of the asbestos blower box lining meant that no one dare open it to oil the bearings and of course eventually they failed.
So the blower and its box have been sent away to be remade without asbestos and have new bearings fitted. For the lack of a simple drop of oil now and again a far worse and bigger bill has ensued. So the morale of this story is do not forget to oil your blower!
Anyway, we got our organ in place by about 1.00pm on the Friday. I am sure the wedding and now some further Sunday services will proceed as planned using our Envoy 23-S until the blower box comes back from the menders. Any more church organ emergencies and we will be buying a big red van and putting a blue light on the top.
I have had a passion for church organs since the tender age of 12. I own and run Viscount Organs with a close attention to the detail that musicians appreciate; and a clear understanding of the benefits of digital technology and keeping to the traditional and emotional elements of organ playing.