The pipe sponsorship scheme was set up in 2006 as a way of encouraging people to have a stake in the organ. Pipe dedications have proved popular as people have come to see their pipes at organ open days during the restoration and come to hear the pipes they’ve sponsored when the organ is playing. To date £17,282 has been raised in pipe sponsorship.
Now the organ is restored pipe sponsorship will continue to help us raise the £4,000 per annum we need to keep the organ in tip top condition for the future.
All sponsors receive a certificate indicating which pipe(s) they have sponsored.
A pipe sponsor’s register is kept on permanent display near the organ. The names of donors of £5,000 or more will be engraved on a plaque sited next to the organ. There are opportunities for sponsors to hear, play and possibly even see the pipe(s) they have sponsored at events when the organ is featured. The sponsorship is a one off donation, not an annual payment.
- You can choose to sponsor a pipe (or half a pipe) in thanksgiving for a special event, in memory of someone, or as an unusual gift to someone or yourself.
- You may choose to donate individually, as a group, a business or a school.
- Save all your loose change until you have enough to sponsor a pipe!
The pipe sponsorship form tells you all you need to know to complete a pipe sponsorship. There are still many different types and prices of pipe available to sponsor.
In 2017 which was MK50 year to celebrate 50 years of Milton Keynes and 50 years since the Willis pipe organ was brought to Stony Stratford we highlighted each month a different pipe that we are particularly encouraging people to sponsor. These had a special MK50 certificate showing the pipe was sponsored in MK50 year.
MK50 pipes of the month
The November & December pipes of the month are an Advent and Christmas special collection and can be sponsored as Christmas gifts:
Our Christmas special feature pipes which help make the Advent and Christmas music really beautiful to enhance the message of the season.
- The 2ft Fifteenth in the Great organ are diapason pipes which give an effect of brilliance in any combination with other pipes.
- The 22/3ft Nazard in the Choir organ is a beautiful solo flute sound which also can be used in combination with the Tierce and Piccolo pipes to create a cornet sound.
- The 8ft Dulciana in the Choir is a quiet diapason sound which can be used as background for prayer with an even tone and resonant singing quality.
- The 8ft Vox Angelica in the Swell is a soft accompaniment tone which can be used for a very quiet start to the music.
- The 16ft Waldhorn is a reed which sounds like a hunting horn in the forest which also blends well with the other reeds and flues, making a rich sonorous tone.
Sponsor any of the pipes in the Christmas special collection, or one of each this month:
- 2ft Fifteenth (Great) - £15
- 22/3ft Nazard (Choir) - £28
- 8ft Dulciana (Choir) - £75
- 8ft Vox Angelica (Swell) - £75
- 16ft Waldhorn (Swell) - £150
The September & October pipes of the month are an Organ Festival special collection and can be sponsored as Christmas gifts:
Sponsor any of the pipes in the special collection, or one of each this month:
- Bass Flute 8ft (Pedal) - £75
- Piccolo 2ft (Choir) - £24
- Principal 4ft (Swell) - £40
- 2 2/3ft Twelfth (Great) - £15
The August pipe of the month is the Corno di Bassetto in the Choir.
Sponsor a Corno di Bassetto pipe this month:
- Corno di Bassetto 8ft (Choir) - £75
The July pipe of the month is the Cornopean in the Swell.
Sponsor a Cornopean pipe this month:
- Cornopean 8ft (Swell) - £75
Previous pipes of the month
Sponsoring the pipework - information on all the pipes
There are 1,987 pipes in the organ ranging in size from 2 feet to 16 feet long.
We have suggested donations according to the size of the pipe sponsored:
|Pipe Size||No of pipes of this size||Amount per pipe|
|Mixture (3 pipes per note, 61 notes)||183||£60 per note|
New pipework installed in 2015 to complete the 1932 Willis III specification
|Pipe Size||No of pipes of this size||Amount per pipe|
|2 ft (Piccolo)||61||£24|
|2 2/3 ft (Nazard)||61||£28|
|1 3/5 ft (Tierce)||61||£24|
|16 ft (Waldhorn)||61||£150|
|4 ft (Viol)||12||n/a (donated by organ builders F H Browne & Sons Ltd)|
The Fundraising and pipe sponsorship story
Throughout its history the Willis pipe organ has been cared for by the congregations of St George’s Church in Edinburgh and St Mary and St Giles Church in Stony Stratford.
From 1984 an earlier Organ fundraising group led by Bill and Nessie Bainbridge raised more than was needed to move the console to its new position in 1989.
In 2006 the Pipe Organ Restoration Action Group (PORAG) was formed to raise the money needed for its complete overhaul and restoration. A pipe sponsorship scheme was set up and has been running ever since and PORAG organised 150 musical and other events to raise awareness of this instrument and the funds to restore it. Since March 2014, Music for All @ SMSG has run 150 further events and has an active forward programme listed under What’s On.
The organ needs to be maintained to keep it in good playing condition after restoration. Most events after restoration will be for other good causes, including church restoration and nominated charities to help others. However some concerts will continue to be held to raise funds for organ maintenance and the pipe sponsorship scheme continues for this purpose as well.