Local Christmas cards will be sent both near and far to raise funds for organ Elgar must have played

Worcestershire couple Bill and Charlotte Carver are raising money for the organ refurbishment at St Wulstan’s Church in Little Malvern; they’ve been associated with the church for thirty years and it’s a cause they both want to support.

The church was built in 1862 but the parish, closely linked with Little Malvern Court, has a continuous Catholic history since the Reformation. Sir Edward Elgar (1957 to 1934), his wife and daughter are buried in the churchyard. 

The organ was built in 1870 by Nicholson & Co Limited, the long-established local organ builders, who have maintained it ever since it was installed. Elgar and his family came and worshipped at St Wulstan’s at the time he and his family lived close by at Craig Lea, and he must have played the organ at St Wulstan’s, which is clearly part of the church’s heritage.

While not unique, early John Nicholson organs, like the one at St Wulstan’s, are well regarded for their tonal qualities, and the flutes on this organ are particularly beautiful. However, the whole organ was in a run-down condition, so it has been dismantled and is being thoroughly overhauled from top to bottom now, at an estimated cost of £75,000.

The stained glass windows in St Wulstan’s Lady Chapel are magnificent, being designed by the famous Birmingham-based Hardman Studios between 1882 and 1892. So when the idea for Christmas cards was put forward, parish priest Fr Edward Crouzet invited Bill Carver to photograph the stained glass window depicting The Nativity. Charlotte then worked with a specialist printer and the Christmas cards are now available, in four different colourways.

Charlotte says, ‘We are delighted to be offering these unique Christmas cards for sale. With such a local focus I’m excited that the first order was from the USA! It came immediately we launched the website, from a long-standing member of The Elgar Society who has since sent us the following feedback: They are wonderful. Simple, elegant, tasteful. I am so pleased.

The Christmas cards are available on Saturday 4 November (10am-3pm) from St James’s Church in Welland and Sunday 5 & 19 November (11.30-12.30) from St Wulstan’s parish room in Little Malvern. They are also available from the Charity Christmas Card Shop between now and 18th December at ARCOS in Avenue Road, Malvern (10am to 4pm). Alternatively, they can be purchased through the dedicated website www.christmascardsinaidofstwulstanschurch.com

The proceeds will go towards the cost of restoring the organ.