Marathon effort sees organist Paul raise a whopping amount

Paul Harrison 24-hour organ marathon for Reed church

Paul Harrison completed a 24-hour organ marathon for Reed church - Credit: St Mary's Reed

The Crow has covered all sorts of 'marathon' challenges - traditional running events, gaming or dancing sessions, even a marathon reading of Proust - but there's now a new marathon challenger in town. 

Paul Harrison played St Mary's Reed's dilapidated organ for 24 hours to raise funds for a replacement at the village's parish church.

Paul Harrison 24-hour organ marathon for Reed church

Reed Church needs a new organ - and they can now begin work to replace their current one thanks to two years of fundraising events - Credit: St Mary's Reed

The arduous task ran from 9am to 9am, on June 17 and 18, and now the final total has been announced - a hugely impressive £14,000.

Donors could dedicate a special hymn or piece of music for Paul to play for a minimum donation of £20 on the day.

Paul Harrison 24-hour organ marathon for Reed church

The organ marathon was thought up by Paul Harrison's daughters, Emily and Sophie - Credit: St Mary's Reed

These dedications were played in hourly slots to allow donors to safely enter the church - within COVID-19 guidelines - to listen to their special piece of music. It could be to celebrate a wedding anniversary, in memory of a loved one, or just because it is a favourite piece. 

One donor said “that took me back to my childhood,” while others said “what a wonderful atmosphere, that was truly special!” and “still amazed at the lovely feeling at the church".

And the success of this event means, after two years of fundraising, St Mary's is now on the cusp of signing a contract with a bespoke organ builder. The Parochial Church Council is optimistic that work could begin in early 2022.

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The organ marathon was the idea of Paul’s twin daughters, Emily and Sophie, 13, who sang with Paul and mum Alison for the last hour.

Paul Harrison 24-hour organ marathon for Reed church

The rest of the Harrison family joined dad Paul for the final hour of his marathon organ-playing fundraising event. - Credit: St Mary's Reed

Paul said: “I have been overwhelmed by the support and enthusiasm for this event and for a new organ for our beloved church.

"I am particularly grateful to everyone who has been a part of this event, including the organisers, volunteers, generous donors and some guest organists who allowed me the odd break here and there and kept me going!”

Pul Harrison Reed Church organ fundraiser

The fundraiser was in aid of St Mary's Reed - Credit: St Mary's Reed

Rector of St Mary's, the Reverend Canon Ruth Pyke said: “Reed has achieved a wonderful fundraising effort and provided local people with a personal dedication, which meant a lot to people, especially during a time when music has been suppressed in all our churches due to COVID-19.

Paul Harrison 24-hour organ marathon for Reed church

Paul Harrison played the dilapidated organ at Reed's parish church for 24 hours. - Credit: St Mary's Reed

"I would like to thank everyone who supported Paul’s outstanding effort in any way and very much look forward to having our new organ installed.”