300-mile cycle ride brings Festival Hall organ campaign to a close

- 23 July 2013

Pedal power: Rick Haythornthwaite, chairman of Southbank Centre and his team of cyclists return after their 300-mile sponsored ride

The remaining £100,000 has now been raised for the ‘Pull Out All The Stops’ campaign to restore the Royal Festival Hall organ. The final fundraising campaign was led by Rick Haythornthwaite, chairman of Southbank Centre who with a team of six cyclists took part in a sponsored 24-hour bike ride from Durham to London on 21 July 2013. This brings the total amount raised for the campaign to its target of £2.3m.

‘We have been pushed to the brink on this ride both physically and mentally but the team’s determination to complete the challenge remained undiluted and we are delighted to have arrived at the Royal Festival Hall today,’ said Mr Haythornthwaite. ‘We are tired and a little sore, but thrilled that we have done our bit to bridge the gap in funding and reach the £2.3m target for this wonderful cause.’

Supporting Mr Haythornthwaite were James Cash, a personal trainer and member of the Phoenix Fitness Group; Rick Grogan, chairman and chief executive of Golf Entertainment International &#8210 a sports and entertainment business; James Helliwell, lawyer at Locke Lord; Nick Sharpe, European head of product control at MF Global; and Simon Thompson, managing partner at Relish market research agency.

The team set off from the Harrison & Harrison organ building workshop in Durham at noon on 20 July, carrying with them one of the final pipes restored in the workshop to be installed in the Royal Festal Hall, and arrived at the Royal Festival Hall at 11:58am on 21 July, having covered 300 miles in just under 24 hours.

Alan Bishop, chief executive of Southbank Centre, said: ‘Rick and his team have achieved something remarkable in completing this gruelling challenge and we are extremely grateful to them all for going the extra 300 miles to raise funds for the Royal Festival Hall organ. They have raised a staggering amount of money, with donations still coming in and we are thrilled to have reached our final target to bring this iconic instrument back to life.’

Launched in September 2010, the ‘Pull Out All The Stops’ fundraising campaign has received over £1.3m in funds through public donations. The Heritage Lottery Fund also awarded £950,000 to reinstall the remaining two thirds of the organ, which comprises almost 5,000 pipes. Any future donations will go to the continued, long-term maintenance and tuning of the iconic instrument.

The organ will be fully tuned and completed in time for the Pull Out All The Stops Organ Festival, starting on 18 March 2014 in the instrument’s 60th anniversary year.

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