A WOMAN has donated a £2,000 instrument to St Helen’s Church in memory of her mum.

The zither, a harp-like stringed instrument, was played for the first time at the West St Helen’s Street church in Abingdon earlier this month.

It was given to the church by Trish Powell in memory of Dorothy Dawson, who died aged 90 in 2012.

Mrs Dawson, who taught history at St Helen & St Katharine School in Abingdon, worshipped at the church for more than 50 years.

Mrs Powell said: “It was lovely to be able to give something in mum’s memory which will be used in the church she worshipped at for so long.

“It is a beautiful instrument with a celestial tune, it sounds heavenly.”

Mrs Powell, who grew up in Abingdon but later moved to Cheshire, attended the Sunday service with husband Bob Powell and daughter Victoria, 21.

Mrs Dawson’s other grandchild Jonathan, 23, could not make the service because he was modelling on the catwalk of the Yves Saint Laurent fashion show in Paris.

Mrs Powell added: “My mother would have dined out on that story for months, everyone in Abingdon would have known it — she was the life and soul.”

The £2,000 zither was hand-made in the workshop of the Benedictine community of d’en Calcat in Tournay, France.

Deputy warden of the church Susan Scott said: “Dorothy was a lovely lady.

“It is a really unique gift which will be used alongside the organ.”

During the service, held by Rev Charles Miller, a new anthem commissioned by the family was also performed.

The Royal Banners Forward Go by the composer-in-residence at Abingdon School, Simon Whalley, was performed by the church choir.