Organ movers caught in quake's fury

  • 24/02/2011

By Charlotte Shipman

Among those killed in the Christchurch earthquake are three men who were part of a team removing the organ from Durham Street Methodist Church.

They were inside the church when it collapsed and the grief has been felt far further than Christchurch.

It was built in 1864 but on Tuesday the Durham Street Methodist Church crumbled, killing Neil Stocker, Scott Lucy and Paul Dunlop.

“Neil and Paul were in the centre of the church and would have just been crushed the walls collapsed and the roof came down,” says John Hargraves.

Scott Lucy too was crushed as he ran down a flight of stairs, trying to escape.

They were part of a team of eight which had been removing the pipe organ from inside the church. Six were inside when it collapsed. 

The stone building suffered significant damage after the September earthquake and taking the organ out was to ensure its safety, however, it now lies within the rubble.

It was work the South Island organ company is more than familiar with. 

At the heart of St Peter's in Wellington is its organ, painstakingly restored by the specialists.

Neil Stocker, who helped set up the company 42 years ago, built the console.

Scott Lucy spent around a month installing the instrument and Dianne Halliday the director of music at St Peters remembers his sense of humour.

“He had a way of lightening the atmosphere,” she says.

She's been involved with the small company for more than a decade.

“It's very much a family affair, one guy said I've known Neil longer than most people have even been married,” she says.

Ms Halliday promises Mr Stocker and Mr Lucy's work will resound for decades to come.

“I'm sad that they're not here of course but in saying that it's the work that was done not the people who did it. I think the worst thing we could do would be to set this up as a mausoleum to these guys, it's an instrument that's made to be played and that's why they built it,” Ms Halliday says.

The organ to be heard in times of joy and despair.

3 News

source: newshub archive

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