Sheffield organist’s pipe dream comes true

Church organist David Warsop playing the 81-year-old organ above the main stage at Sheffield  City Hall

Church organist David Warsop playing the 81-year-old organ above the main stage at Sheffield City Hall

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A pipe dream came true for a Sheffield music lover celebrating his 50th birthday.

The 81-year-old organ at City Hall was instrumental in providing the perfect present for David Warsop during a special surprise.

Church organist David, of Norton Lees, had longed to play the Henry Willis and Sons instrument after visiting the venue.

So when he hit the big 5-0, wife Jill arranged for her hubby to sit at the stool of the organ and play to a select crowd of family and friends.

Dave, who has spent 30 years making sweet music at services, weddings and christenings at St Paul’s Church in Norton Lees, delighted onlookers with some of his best-loved pieces.

He said: “It was an honour and privilege to play such an esteemed instrument as the Father Willis Pip organ.”

Jill plays guitar with Dave in the St Paul’s worship group band.

Among the crowd who gathered to see Dave realise his dream was St Paul’s vicar Barbara Hicks, who is one of the couple’s close friends.

Dave said: “Jill and I met through music and we share a love for fine instruments.

“We had been a few weeks before to see The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and I said it would be my ultimate dream to play the instrument.

“So when Jill told me she had contacted the City Hall who were willing to let me play, I was more than thrilled.”

Jill added: “Dave is used to playing an electronic organ so this really is a dream come true. I really wanted to make his 50th birthday special and thanks to the City Hall he has received the best present he could.

“To have our family members come and experience it was even more special.”

The organ originally cost £12,650 and is the only remaining one of its kind, containing about 4,000 pipes. The City Hall motto – ‘Deo Adjumante Labor Proficit’ – With God’s Help Our Labour Is Successful’ – is embedded in brickwork above.

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