A FORMER primary school headteacher from West Cumbria has set himself an enormous charity challenge- to raise money for a village church organ.

John Corran, 69, has embarked on a challenge which will see him ride to all the St Paul’s C of E Churches this summer, starting the challenge on Monday May,2.

The keen cyclist recently launched a campaign to raise £50,000 to restore a Nicholson church organ which after over a century of service needs vital restoration.

John said: “I’m both excited and nervous as I look forward to embarking on my sponsored ride to all St Paul’s C of E Churches in England this weekend, to raise funds towards the restoration of the 147-year-old Grade II listed Organ at Irton church, an organ which is a wonderful example of John Nicholson’s craftmanship.”

The organ at St Paul’s in Irton was built in 1876 under the leadership of John Nicholson who was one of the finest and most highly respected provincial organ builders of the Victorian era. The organ is thought to be the only Nicholson organ North of Manchester.

The St Bees resident continued: “The ride not only provides a challenge for me, but it is also an opportunity to visit all corners of England and a variety of landscapes and people.”

John will pass through cities such as London, Bristol, Birmingham, Newcastle, and Nottingham.

“I hope to visit over 250 churches, including two on the Isle of Wight and cover around 3,800 miles. Starting in Truro and zigzagging my way up the country to reach the northern most church at Branxton just south of the Scottish border,” he says.

“The campaign has gathered great support this far, and it just shows the special place the organ holds within the communities’ hearts. I’m thankful to family, friends and the community for their support.

“As well as family and various friends, I have been kindly offered accommodation by the clergy and parishioners of some of the St Paul’s churches I will visit, I hope to finish at Irton Church around 4th July. I endeavour to keep people posted on how the challenge is going and will post updates when I can on my Just Giving page.”

You can support John’s challenge by visiting justgiving.com/crowdfunding/john-corran-irton-organ