WORSHIPPERS and concert-goers are hoping to banish screeching from Wilton Parish Church.

The problem is not in the choir but with the famous Italianate church’s worn-out public address system which subjects congregations to electric crackles, "screeching feedback" and moments of bewildering silence.

The Rector, Rev Mark Wood, said: “The second-hand system we have dates from the 1990s and is unreliable. We have reached the point where we have to take the bull by the horns and replace the system. We had a large funeral in which one of the relatives was giving an address and only half the congregation could hear.”

Mr Wood said the hearing loop system also needed replacing and a new PA system would allow for the recording of services for the house-bound.

However, the new sound system the church would like costs £35,000 and although it has had £13,000 in pledges, it still needs to do quite a bit of fundraising from grants and from organisations using the church.

The 480-seat church was built in Italian style in the 1840s and is used for high quality concerts as well as regular services.

Anyone who wants to send a donation should address it to “Wilton PCC” c/o the Parish Office, West Street, Wilton, SP2 0DL or Text to HEAR14 on 70070 (e.g. to give £10 text HEAR1410 to 70070) or visit www.justgiving.com/wiltonpcc and click on purple donate button.