HUNDREDS of people gathered at a Canvey church to hear a newly-refurbished pipe organ after a 12-year fundraising effort.

Parishioners at St Nicholas’ Church, in Long Road, gathered for a service celebrating raising £78,000 to get the instrumentfixed.

It is the only organ on the island, and was given to the church in 1982 and was only used for a few years before it stopped working.

The community rallied together and through a combination of people leaving legacies in their will and fundraising events, they raised enough money.

The Reverend David Tudor, of St Nicholas Church, said: “The organ has not been used for about 20 years because it became unreliable. It needed to be refurbished.

“The fundraising has been going on for 12 years with people giving in memory of loved ones or to celebrate an anniversary.

“It is the only organ on the island and an important part of our heritage, so it was decided to refurbish and rebuild the original.”

The ceremony was conducted by the Archdeacon of Southend, the Venerable Mina Smallman, and the organ was played by 16- year-old Will Foster.

Mr Tudor said a plaque will also be put up to commemorate all those who donated.

He added: “People of this island community are rightly proud of what has been achieved. We are leaving behind something special that will enhance the occasions of joy and sadness for many years to come.”

Ray Howard, Conservative representative for Canvey West, added: “It was a brilliant service.

“There was not one empty seat in the entire church and it is a big church. I was very privileged the mayor and myself were invited to the event.”