A CONCERT to mark the achievements of past winners in the annual Thornbury Eisteddfod will be held as part of the town's annual arts festival.

It will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of the eisteddfod, which was introduced to give youngsters the chance to demonstrate their musical and singing skills.

Since its launch, thousands of under-18s have taken part in the eisteddfod, which is run ahead of the main festival and features some 30 classes for vocalists and instrumentalists.

Many of them have gone on to make music their career and eight of them will return for the concert, which will be held in the Armstrong Hall on Friday, May 16.

Four of them - singers Emma Barnes and Aaron Holmes, cellist Chris Brown and French horn player Hannah Caldecott - are studying music at university, college or conservatoire, as well as singing or playing in choirs and orchestras.

The other four - Ellie Baker (French horn), Natalie Hartnett (piano and flute), Jenny Weir (clarinet, flute and saxophone) and Claire Jenkins (singer) - all teach, as well as participating in a wide range of musical activities.

Appearing with them will be a young winner from this year's eisteddfod and the concert will be compered by Josie Farmiloe, a frequent winner in the speech and drama section who has appeared in several starring roles in television dramas, including Desperate Romantics and Garrow’s Law.

Daphne Ashton, who helped to set up the contest in 1989, will be one of the special guests at the event. Thornbury Lions, which has supported the eisteddfod throughout its history, will also be represented.

The concert will be one of a number of musical highlights during the arts festival, which runs from Friday, May 9, to Sunday, May 18.

A classical recital by the Dutch pianist Jan Vriend will also feature pianist James Lisney and his cellist daughter, Joy, while lunchtime events include John Parsons showing sets of themed photographs to a background of popular music and John Watkeys giving a history of the trumpet.

St Mary's Church will be the venue for free community concerts by Marlwood and The Castle school music departments, Panache Steel Band and organist Hugo Kennard, with two of the South West's best community choirs giving a joint concert in the Armstrong Hall. The Royal Mail Choir, originally formed for Gareth Malone's BBC programme Sing While You Work, will appear with The Magnificent AK47 from Wiltshire.

North Indian music and Spanish flamenco has also been included in the programme, along with a sitar and tabla workshop for anyone over the age of eight who wants to have a go at playing the Indian instruments.

The festival will be opened by farmer and TV presenter, Adam Henson, and full details of the schedule are available on the website www.thornburyartsfestival.com. Postal ticket bookings can be made now and a box office will open in the town hall on May 6.