Organ draws visitors

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WE would like to thank Brian Stephens for his excellent article in the recent edition of the Herald dealing with the current problem we are facing with Worthing Borough Council involving the Worthing Wurlitzer organ.

We are faced with the enormous difficulty of dealing with an elected body which appears to have no consideration whatsoever for a unique instrument which is famed worldwide for its exceptional qualities.

There is no other entertainment in Worthing which is broadcast regularly on the BBC and which sells CD recordings internationally. The really puzzling feature of Brian’s article is the comment that he received from Councillor Yallop who stated that the contract that we have with Worthing Borough Council was “a technical issue that if we don’t end the contract it will stop us getting another body to run the theatre”.

If they do, in fact, require the termination or renegotiation of our contract then that would be a simple matter of discussion with us but throughout the whole of this incredible situation not one councillor or person in any authority has attempted to speak to us or to make any contact.

Destroying a massive pipe organ of world renown to achieve this declared objective would appear to be nonsensical and something that is completely beyond comprehension because the two subjects are not mutually dependent upon each other, despite what the council might have everyone believe.

The problem cannot be solely related to cost saving because the organ has in 32 years of operation not received one penny of subsidy from the council, but has, in fact, contributed a considerable amount of money to the theatres department, as well as providing an attraction that brings visitors to Worthing from all over the country and overseas.

If only the council leadership would speak to us to explain what they are trying to achieve then we might be able to help them, but as things currently stand the proposed effective destruction (because that is what it is) of the Worthing Wurlitzer and the resultant damage that will occur to a grade II listed building in the process, is frankly beyond comprehension.

Jim Buckland

chairman

The Sussex Theatre

Organ Trust