Organ magic helps charity

A 1950s fairground organ called Bellpee used by a Horsham man has helped a children’s charity to the tune of £4,543.57p.

The money was raised over four years thanks to owner Brian Parkinson taking the mobile instrument to steam rallies at show grounds across Sussex and playing music to the crowds in return for a donation to the NSPCC.

Mr Parkinson said: “I’ve been using the organ to raise money for various charities for the last 20 years but since 2014 I’ve been raising money exclusively for the NSPCC. It’s a fantastic cause and one I’m proud to support.

“People are very generous and are only too happy to put a few coins, or notes in the boxes which are next to the organ, hung from the front flap and even placed round the neck of a teddy bear and monkey puppet.”

The 67-year-old’s fundraising efforts started off as a one man show but for the last three years Robert Taylor has been attending the events with him.

Mr Taylor, who is also 67-years-old and lives in Horsham, said: “I was at a steam rally at Laughton Show Ground when I saw the organ. I thought it looked interesting so I went over and got chatting to Brian and he asked me to give him a hand.

“It needs two people to operate it really as you have to keep the music going by feeding the organ books of music which is done manually. I helped out at that show and haven’t looked back since.”

To thank the pair for their efforts they were presented with a certificate when they dropped off a cheque for the latest amount they raised – £1,625.25p – which is included in the total figure.

Moira Mitchell, Community Fundraising Manager for West Sussex, said: “The amount raised by Brian and Robert is a great achievement and we are extremely grateful to both of them for giving up their spare time to help raise money for the NSPCC.

“Every penny donated enables us to continue to provide vital services and support to children and families across the country.

“One of the services we provide in the Sussex area is our Speak Out. Stay Safe programme. It involves specially trained volunteers visiting primary schools to talk to children aged five to 11 about the different forms of abuse but in a child-friendly way. At the end, pupils know how to protect themselves and the help available to them including Childline.

“In 2015/16 our volunteers visited over 70 schools in West Sussex and spoke to almost 5,193 children. Schools can book a visit via the NSPCC website.”

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