A CHURCH choir that has battled on for more than a year without an organist has put out a desperate appeal for a new player.

The thriving adult choir at St Anne’s Church, in Fence, rehearses weekly and performs on Sunday mornings.

But members are worried about its future due to the lack of a choirmaster or organist after the retirement of the long-serving Dr John Bertalot early last year.

The choir has only survived thanks to the dedication of four stand-in organists who have split their time to fulfil duties since then.

Rev Jane Bury, who took over at the congregation last December, said the singers were eager to see a permanent replacement for Dr Bertalot.

She said: “The choir has 16 members regularly turning out to practice and on Sunday mornings, and they just really enjoy the chance to sing.

“It’s been difficult for them to keep going without someone at the helm and that’s why we’re asking if anyone would like to come forward to help.

“Ideally it would be someone with a bit of experience in being a choirmaster but really we just need someone who has the time to dedicate to the choir.

“Rehearsals at the minute have no set day because it’s just a case of getting everyone together when one of the organists is available.

“We’re really grateful for those that do give their time but we’d like it to be a permanent position.”

The church, in Barrowford Road, has a ‘magnificant’ 2002 Copeman Hart digital organ and is a frequent venue for organ recitals and musical events.

Its choir dates back to the formation of the church in 175 years ago.

Rev Bury said: “We have between 60 and 70 people turning out every week at our Sunday service and they really enjoy the choir.

“I still feel that the church is very much at the centre of the community in this village.”