German tourist, 72, agrees to return 19th-century organ pipe to York Minster 50 years after his friend stole it from boys during a summer vacation
- Klaus Weber, 72, visited the cathedral with six friends in the summer of 1969
- The organ was dismantled at the time and one of the boys took a pipe
- Weber returns the pipe with a £ 50 rental fee as an apology for the theft
- A spokesman for the Minster said he didn't know & # 39; that the pipe was taken
A German tourist whose friend stole an organ pipe from a British cathedral during a boy's holiday agreed to return it 50 years later.
Klaus Weber, 72, was one of six friends who visited York Minster in the summer of 1969 – the first time the group had ever left Germany.
During a walk through the cathedral, one of his friends noticed that the organ was falling apart and the pipes were along a wall.
And so he decided to take a small pipe from the 19th-century organ, despite protests from his friends.
Klaus Weber, 72, has decided to return an organ pipe that was stolen by one of his friends during a boy's vacation in 1969
Weber said: & # 39; We tried to stop him. We told him: "You are a visitor, you have to show good behavior".
& # 39; But he said, "No, it's just a little thing," and we couldn't stop him. He never said why he wanted it. & # 39;
Two weeks later, while the group was on their way to Dover, the friend got scared that the pipe would be noticed by customs and said he had lost his strange souvenir.
But Weber thought it could be historical and led it through customs. He lost contact with his friend before he could return it.
He now gives it back to the minister with a payment of £ 50: £ 1 & # 39; rent & # 39; for every year it has been in his home in the town of Hude, near Bremen.
The Minster believes the pipe dates from the beginning of the 19th century, when the organ was rebuilt after a fire in 1829 (photo, York Minster)
The retired teacher said he did not know what to do with the pipe until the friends were reunited for the 50th anniversary of the trip.
He said: & I know that I am getting older and will die someday, and I know that all personal things are thrown in the trash.
& # 39; I think this pipe should not be thrown in the trash; so I want to send it back. & # 39;
He wants his £ 50 to go to the current £ 2 million renovation of the Minster organ.
The Minster believes that the pipe dates from the early 19th century, when the organ was rebuilt after a fire in 1829.
& # 39; Until he wrote, we didn't know it was taken & # 39 ;, said a spokesperson.
The cathedral organ is currently undergoing a £ 2 million restoration project. It has more than 5,300 pipes – many of which are now being used for the first time in more than 100 years.
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