A Bridport church was gifted a ‘magnificent Christmas present.’

Dr Richard Godfrey, a former Organ Advisor to the Diocese of Salisbury, donated a 9ft concert grand piano to St Swithun’s Church in Allington.

Dr Godfrey, who lives in Uplyme, used to teach the organ to young people at St Swithun’s under the Salisbury Diocese Pipe Up Scheme, which was when he spotted the potential of the church as a permanent home for his Estonia piano.

A spokesperson for St Swithun’s described the piano as a 'magnificent Christmas present' and hopes that it will be a 'permanent gift.'

In order to relocate the piano from his home in France, it had to be lifted out of the window by a crane.

Following its journey to Bridport, the piano is set for a full overhaul and tuning this month.

Canon Deb Smith, the Rector of Bridport, welcomed the piano by thanking Dr Godfrey for his ‘wonderful and generous gift.’

The rector ‘looks forward to hearing it as part of St Swithun’s service to local community groups and individual music lovers.’

The piano is currently at the church for a six-month trial period and ‘if, as expected, it finds a sympathetic home there it will become a permanent gift.’

Matt Kingston, the musical director of the West Dorset Singers, said: “Local societies will warmly welcome the presence of such a fine instrument in Bridport.

"Other organisations using St Swithun’s as a concert venue are already building it into their concert programming.”

The piano itself was made in 1981 by the Estonia Piano Company and for St Swithun’s it forms part of the Repair and Renewal project aimed at increasing the church’s offering to the local community.

Philip Sturrock, the project leader, said: “I have been inspired by the recent TV programme about the playing of pianos in railway stations.

“I could see the piano being used by individual pianists, young and old, experienced or novices, as well as in concerts or church services.”

St Swithun’s is now seeking a volunteer to promote and manage the use of the new piano and anyone interested should email chair@stswithunsrandr.org