The restoration of the church organ is fully underway. On Monday a team of craftsmen travelled down from Durham and began the delicate task of taking the great instrument apart. In just a few short days the organ has been reduced to something that resembles an eccentric Heath Robinson jigsaw puzzle. The church is now littered with all manner of bits and pieces - including organ pipes, levers, knobs and contraptions that wouldn't look out of place in a museum for agricultural machinery. The organ has hardly been touched since it was first installed 150 years ago. Each wooden beam is held together with pegs and rusty screws, all of which must be carefully teased apart, numbered and photographed. The process will take at least a week - so if you do get a chance you are well-advised to drop in and take a look.
The organ pipes come in all shapes and sizes - from a tiny lead tube measuring just a few inches to a massive wooden box almost 5 meters long. There are hundreds of other pipes in between. It's impressive stuff. However, perhaps the most interesting feature of all is hidden around the back of the organ completely out of sight.
When it was first installed, the air that flows through the pipes was generated by a huge pair of bellows built under the organ frame. These were powered - quite literally - by choir boys who used a long lever to pump the bellows up and down. As the boys stood around the back waiting for their turn, they would often scratch or draw graffiti on to the wood paneling. Much of this is as clear today as it was when it was created - much of it over 70 years ago. Many names, messages and doodles are inscribed into the surface - each one a tiny piece of Titchmarsh history.
Don't forget you can help this project by making a donation or by sponsoring your own pipe. More details can be found on the Organ website.