A NEW home has been found for a much-loved chapel organ - in a quaint French village.

Organist Eric Cordé read online how the relic at the former Severalls Hospital chapel in Colchester could be a potential restoration project.

The chapel is set to be demolished to make way for 730 homes on the site of the former psychiatric hospital off Boxted Road.

The plan was for the organ to put into storage until a new owner was found.

But the organ already has its new overseas destination - La Richardais church in Brittany, close to the popular holiday destination of Dinard.

Mr Cordé said: “When I saw the pictures of the organ and the place, I found this immediately appealing and the organ, so cute.

“So I asked if the organ was available and I began the procedure.

“I immediately thought this organ could be reinstalled in a church in the area of Dinard, the town of La Richardais.

“This church never had any pipe organ so it’s a beautiful occasion with the Severalls organ. The priest and the Mayor of La Richardais are really enthusiastic.”

Mr Cordé visited the organ at the Severalls site, which closed as a hospital in 1997, last Sunday.

He added: “The great risk was that organ was damaged, pipes stolen, wood worms had attacked,

“But the organ is in a relatively good condition and of good quality construction - it’s solid.

“The organ is not playable but the good quality of the pipes suggest to us that the organ will sound good.

“We are really happy to save a part of this spirit with this little and cute organ.”

It could take up to three days to dismantle the organ next month before it travels across the Channel to its new home.

Also saved from the Severalls chapel are 6ft tall stained glass windows and a bell, which will go into storage.

The chapel will be taken down tile by tile.

Martin Goss, Mile End ward councillor who has been heavily involved in trying to save the items, said: "I am very pleased that between the team involved in this work we have managed to find a new home for this organ.

"Although it's disappointing nobody in the UK came forward it is at least going to a valuable home in France where it will be restored and used for a generation to come who can once again enjoy hearing it being played."

Some of the old Severalls psychiatric hospital buildings and a water tower will be retained, and a war memorial will be relocated.

The hospital opened in 1913 and closed in 1997.

The first homes on the site are planned to be released for sale later this year.

In total 16 buildings will be razed to the ground when the bulldozers have completed their job.