A CHURCH organist from West Wittering has set a new world record by playing music for 45 hours and nine minutes.
The ‘community event’, which saw Michael Servant supported by 60 members of the community and children from West Wittering Primary School, was a huge feat for the organist and the village.
He broke the record at 3pm on Thursday, and children from West Wittering school sang along with the organ as Mr Servant broke the world record.
“I’m astonished that yet again I have managed to get through it,” said Mr Servant.
“It was quite daunting at the start.”
He said the worst time was early in the morning, but he got encouragement from the schoolchildren who shouted ‘Keep going, Mr Servant!’.
“It has been a great community event, lots of people from the whole of the community helped out,” he said.
With a team of 60 villagers who spurred him along, the world-record attempt was part of a week of celebrations as the church got a new pipe organ.
Rev Jonathan said: “It is obviously a very special event and it is quite unusual for a church to have a new pipe organ. We want it to be something for the life of the church and the life of the village. We want to be a church at the heart of the village with the village at our heart.”
Stella Pendelton added: “From my point of view it’s a magnificent team effort with an enormous number of people performing different roles. It is just village people coming together to make it happen.”
Mr Servant said: “It was a full church, It has been a really good week actually. A whole week of celebration for the new organ. We want to show it is an organ for the whole community.”
This wasn’t the first time Mr Servant broke the world record: “I first started playing when I was about ten,” he said.
“My grandmother’s mother was an organist, so when I went up to see her I got a chance to play the organ.”
He got his first job as a church organist when he was 16, and the rest was history.
Since then Mr Servant has broken the world record twice, once in Norway and once in Italy, but each time a competitor came along and broke his records.
He and his family moved to West Wittering in 2011 as he got the post of church organist at West Wittering’s St Peter and St Paul’s Church, and he decided to try and break the record again after a woman from Toronto become the record-holder.
The time to beat was 40 hours and 36 minutes – and he managed to surpass that target by nearly five hours.
The money raised from the event, more than £1,000, will go to St Wilfrid’s Hospice and to a school in Sierra Leone.