A HISTORIC organ which was restored thanks to £416,000 in lottery funding is set to be heard once more.

The Moot Hall Organ, which has stood in Colchester Town Hall since the civic structure was built in 1902, will be used for a series of recitals starting from next month.

The organ has just undergone the latest in a long line of restorative works and is now ready to be enjoyed by the public over nine shows which will be performed by acclaimed musicians.

Colchester councillor Nigel Chapman (Con, Rural North) is chairman of the Friends of the Moot Hall Organ group.

For him, the recitals are the pay off for what has been a long campaign to get the organ back in a usable condition.

He said: “The recitalists come from as far as mainland Europe and they approach us.

“We have been getting crowds of between 150 and 170 people for previous recitals and attracting great performers.

“The recitals are free of charge with a good atmosphere and the people who come seem to thoroughly enjoy it.”

The organ’s sorry state was first noticed by Mr Chapman in 2002 during his mayoral year.

It took until 2015, but eventually he and the newly-formed group managed to secure the funding needed for repairs, thanks primarily to a £416,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

Over the past few months, however, it was discovered some small remedial works were needed before the recital calendar started up again.

Mr Chapman said: “I can be quite stubborn and when I started I could see how difficult it was going to be.

“It was hard work and it still can be hard work.

“But to get all those people coming in and see them being entertained is the best thing.

“It is very satisfying to see it working properly.

“Colchester is quite a musical town but we are still surprised by the amount of people who come.”

The first 2019 recital will see David Pipe, an organist from Leeds, perform for an audience in the Moot Hall.

It takes place from 1pm on Tuesday July 16.

Entrance is free, however, there is a retiring collection which goes towards The Friends of the Moot Hall Organ towards the upkeep and maintenance.

Visit moothallorgan.co.uk.