A SOLICITOR has swapped law books for Buxtehude in a sponsored organ recital to fund essential repairs for a beloved church.

Luke Busbridge divides his time between working as a private client and capital tax planning specialist in Darlington's Latimer Hinks law firm as well as being a member of his parochial church council.

As a deputy organist at St James the Great, in Albert Hill, Darlington, Mr Busbridge is coming up with inventive ways to raise £25,000 needed to renew the church hall floor.

As part of fundraising activities, the solicitor performed a recital including a varied programme of works by French and German composers from the 17th to 20th century, including Couperin, J S Bach, Brahms, Tournemire, and Jehan Alain.

Latimer Hinks sponsored the event, which was free entry with a retiring collection, with £120 raised on the night.

Mr Busbridge now intends to perform a series of further recitals to continue fundraising for the church hall which is frequently used by a large number of corporate and charitable organisation, institutions and individuals

Mr Busbridge said: “Music has always been a huge part of my life. I have been singing since I was five, playing the organ since I was nine, and I regularly sing with Durham Cathedral Choir as a deputy lay clerk.

"I was delighted to be able to swap my computer keypad for the organ console in order to help raise money for my local church, which is such an important part of the community.

“I’d like to thank my friends and colleagues at Latimer Hinks for their support of the recital. Like St James’s, the firm has been part of Darlington since the 19th Century and is an important part of the town’s history. The contribution was very generous and has helped the church on its way to the target.”

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The organ, on which Luke gave his recital, is a digital instrument, which has replaced the original pipe organ destroyed by a fire in the 1960s.

St James the Great sits strongly within the Anglo-Catholic tradition within the Church of England and was built in the late 19th Century for the growing industrial suburb of Albert Hill.

It is a handsome example of high Victorian gothic revival architecture and has many points of interest, not least its historic connection with the Havelock Allan family, who were some of its earliest benefactors.

Father Kenneth Crawford, the Priest-in-Charge of St James’s, said: “We are extremely grateful to the directors and staff at Latimer Hinks for their generosity. We have an ambitious fundraising target to meet in order for the repair works to take place, and it is wonderful to be supported by professional firms in Darlington like Latimer Hinks as we work towards it.”

The next organ recital will take place at St James the Great on Saturday, June 8, at 7pm. Admission is free with a retiring collection afterwards, in aid of the church hall fundraising project.