Youngsters' concert for Two Moors Festival gets royal seal of approval
Young musicians were given a royal seal of approval as the Countess of Wessex visited the Westcountry.
Almost 200 school children performed Benjamin Britten's masterpiece opera Noye's Fludde at Exeter Cathedral watched by Sophie Wessex.
Hundreds of people queued outside the historic building yesterday evening ahead of the concert that formed part of the Two Moors Festival, for which the 48-year-old royal is patron.
Victor Gough and his wife Helen from South Molton said it was "fantastic" to watch their 9-year-old daughter Jessica perform in the company of a royal visitor.
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"The children at South Molton Junior School are feeling very privileged to have been invited to take part. They've done a lot of hard work over several months," said Mrs Gough.
The youngsters took part in the concert – that is based on the Biblical account of Noah and the Great Flood – as singers, instrumentalists and animals.
Stephen and Lynette Mitchell watched their 15-year-old son James play the cello in the concert.
"He's a very experienced musician and was very keen to take part," said Mr Mitchell.
It was the fourth time the countess has visited the event, having previously attended concerts in Ashburton and Widecombe-in-the-Moor. Alison Vernie, the festival's musicians' liaison officer, said: "To have Her Royal Highness is an added delight to a wonderful week with all the young people from our schools.
"She came to a concert two years ago and was utterly charming."
Far from St James' Palace, where the christening of Prince George took place, the countess carried out a typical day of royal engagements in the South West, including opening a new Girl Guides' residential lodge at Wedmore, in Somerset.
Artistic director Penny Adie said: "We are most touched and delighted that Her Royal Highness is showing such support in what we do. Everyone loves it when she comes to a concert."
Andrew Godsall, canon chancellor of the cathedral, added: "It's always nice to welcome such concerts here."
The festival, now in its 13th year, includes 30 chamber music concerts taking place this month across the region.