Can you help?

The Blue Coat School, Wavertree, is appealing for volunteers to help with a new project, which includes the restoration of its historic Father Willis organ, public concerts and the launch of organ scholarships. The school aims to appoint 50 volunteers from all backgrounds, who will be involved in organising community/school events, such as public concerts, and also encouraging local pride in the school. It also hopes to revive the Blue Coat Community Choir, and to create an oral history archive.

The Father Willis organ in the school's Shirley Hall - a rarity in a state school - was first installed in the original building (now the Bluecoat Arts Centre) in Liverpool city centre, in 1874, and was moved to the school's new premises at Wavertree in 1902. The proposed organ scholarships - offering an unsurpassed training and helping address the UK's shortage of organists - will be for both pupils and external students. The Directors of Music at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral, Lee Ward, and RC Metropolitan Cathedral, Dr Chris McElroy, are both former Blue Coat School pupils, and are highly supportive of the idea. They see the project as helping to re-establish Liverpool as a national centre for serious music.

The school is negotiating a £100,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, but needs to raise a further £25,000 itself through donations and direct fund-raising to show commitment to the project.

Anybody interested in becoming a  'Blue Coat: For All' volunteer, or wanting further information about the project, should contact Peter Elson (Development Officer), at the Blue Coat School, Church Road, Wavertree, Liverpool, L15 9EE. Email or phone 0151 733 1407 ext. 207.

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