AN HISTORIC organ has sounded its last notes in a church which has been its home for more than a century.

Hurworth Methodist Chapel is selling its chamber organ to make way for an electronic keyboard because the church rarely uses it.

On Saturday, a special organ recital was held at the church, in Hurworth, near Darlington, while the organ was used in its final service yesterday.

The organ, which has been at the chapel since the late 19th Century, was originally housed in a nearby country house, although it is not known which one. It is thought to have been given to the church by a Methodist family and to have been built by renowned organ builder Henry Bishop.

It will be sent to Newcastle organ dealers Gaughan and Gaughan, who have found three possible buyers for the instrument, all of which are churches.

The organ will be dismantled and removed form the church in the next month.

Vicar the Reverend Andrew Stobart, who is a trained organist, told The Northern Echo he was sad to see the organ go, but it was necessary to make room for the new activities the church was organising.

“I think I am a little bit sad. There will be those in the village and the church who have always known it to be there.

“We hope to replace it with a digital piano, which will suit our current needs because it is a more versatile instrument which can be used for Messy Church and with our youth band.

“Unfortunately it is very rarely played now, and I would rather see it somewhere where it is used, and get something which will be more appropriate for our activities.

“We are grateful to all the organists who have played in the past, but also look forward to the new kinds of music that this change will bring.

“Donations received at this final organ recital will go towards the replacement instrument and the redecoration of the church.”