Belfast Telegraph

Chuch rector set for marathon organ session to raise funds for new parish hall

St Canice's Church, Eglinton. Credit: Google.
St Canice's Church, Eglinton. Credit: Google.
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

A Church of Ireland rector is taking on a marathon fundraising challenge on Saturday to replace a parish hall destroyed by last summer’s devastating floods which hit the north west.

Rev Canon Paul Hoey will play the organ non-stop for 12 hours, blasting out popular hymns and any other requested pieces of music to help his Co Londonderry parishioners raise enough money for their new hall.

Eglinton was one of the areas worst affected by the floods of late August 2017 and St Canice’s Church in the heart of the village was extensively damaged.

In June, Faughanvale parishioners’ nine-month exile from their parish church finally came to an end following the completion of a major restoration project to repair damage. However the parish hall is still in need of remedial work, the cost of which is expected to run into six figures.

Rev Paul hopes his organ-playing stint from 9am to 9pm will make a sizable dent in that bill. He is no stranger to innovation when it comes to engaging his congregation or embarking on novel fundraising schemes for worthy causes.

Today’s latest endeavour will involve the church’s new organ, which was purchased to replace the previous instrument that was destroyed in the deluge.

Speaking yesterday, Rev Paul said: “We have had incredibly generous help from the other churches in the area as well as the local community centre and primary school. We have had to buy a mobile in the meantime but there’s no substitute for having your own parish hall.”

He might look unflappable but Revd Paul will be under pressure playing the church organ non-stop for 12 hours:

“I’m really looking forward to this event. We are expecting a good crowd of people from the village and beyond and from all denominations to come along with their requests. Playing a wide selection of music will definitely help the time go in quickly and give me some company.

“I’m ready to play for the entire 12 hours myself with five minutes off every hour for comfort breaks. I have someone else who will take over, but other than that it will be me at the helm. I have a great team of people who will be providing refreshments throughout the day to keep me going. 

“The last hour of the event will take the form of community hymn singing, with lots of favourites being sung and played,” Rev Paul added.

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