Epic bike ride helps save Royal Festival Hall organ

22 July 2013, 17:23 | Updated: 5 January 2017, 17:30

Royal Festival Hall Organ

The final push in the Royal Festival Hall's Pull Out All The Stops organ restoration campaign involved an impressive 24-hour bike ride, pushing the fundraising total over the £2.3 million target

Fearless cyclists took to the streets to save the Royal Festival Hall's organ, taking part in a 24-hour sponsored bike ride over the weekend. Rick Haythornthwaite, Chairman of Southbank Centre, and his team of cyclists finished their ride from Durham to London yesterday, nudging the total over the £2.3 million target.

Rick and his team of five riders set off at 12 noon on 20 July from the Harrison and Harrison organ building workshop in Durham, and arrived at the Royal Festival Hall at 11.58am the next day, covering more than 300 miles and eating 80 bananas between them.

Rick Haythornthwaite said: “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. We are tired and a little sore, but thrilled that we have done our bit to bridge the gap in funding and reach the £2.3 million target for this wonderful cause."

The Pull Out All The Stops fundraising campaign was launched in September 2010 with the aim to raise enough money to restore and reinstall the organ. The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £950,000, and over £1.3 million has been raised through public donations, including yesterday's bike ride.