Retiring the Pipes: Minsteracres Bids Farewell to Legendary Organ Builder

Minsteracres waved farewell recently to a man who has been visiting since the Passionist community’s earliest days on the estate.

Organ builder 83 year old Brian Brighton, was a 17 year old apprentice with Nelson’s Organ Builders in Durham when they installed the church organ and has been responsible for maintaining it ever since.

The Organ

The organ itself came from the former Methodist church in Newbottle, county Durham. Boasting around 700 pipes alone, it is no mean feat to keep it in tip top running order. Brian though is the perfect man for the job, in fact he has perfect pitch and although he carries tuning forks in his toolbag, he rarely needs to use them.

Maintaining an organ is more physical than you might think and can involve stripping out, checking, cleaning and repairing any of the 100s of parts. “I’m not so fit now,” says Brian, “so it feels like the right time to call it a day.

“I’ll miss it, and the people, but there will be plenty to do in retirement.”

Handy Around The House

Wife Freda agrees, “Fortunately, with his skills he’s very handy around the house!” Freda herself used to work alongside Brian, though she admits she put herself into retirement a few years back.

In his 67 years as an organ builder, he has worked in churches throughout the UK including Carlisle, Worcester and Glasgow cathedrals. He even was on hand in Carlisle Cathedral during the Maundy service attended by Queen Elizabeth in 1974 .

Breathing Life into Your Lungs

Singing does more than just soothe the soul; it strengthens the body too. It enhances respiratory health by engaging and exercising the lungs and diaphragm, promoting more efficient breathing. Over time, this is said to help improve lung capacity and reduced muscle tension across the body.  Some studies even suggest that singing can help improve the immune system.  

Happy Retirement Brian

Brian will be missed at Minsteracres. Camille Mazarelo who has played the organ on Sundays for almost 40 years has valued the care that Brian has lavished on the organ, sending him messages and thanks over that time. She was delighted finally to meet Brian in person on his last visit.