Amanda comes back to her roots

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A world famous Chorley opera star is set to return to her roots and perform a concert in aid of the brass band she played with as a child.

Amanda Roocroft will swap the Royal Albert Hall for Adlington Community Centre in July in a bid to help raise 5,000 for the Rivington and Adlington Brass Band.

The band, which has more than 50 members, has made it to the national finals of the Brass Band Championships and needs the money to fund its trip to Harrogate in September.

Amanda proved a talented soprano cornet when she joined the band aged seven and her parents remain involved with the group today.

Her dad, Roger Roocroft, who lives in Coppull, said: "It is very rare for Amanda to make it back to Chorley as she now lives in Cambridgeshire, so this performance will be really special.

"It is only the second time in the history of Rivington and Adlington Brass Band that we have made it to the national finals. The first time was in Crystal Palace in 1936 when the conductor was Joe Brookes and sadly he collapsed and died on stage during the performance."

Amanda, known as Mandy by her family, has been named in a list of the top 20 world divas by the Times newspaper and her career has taken her across the world.

Her dad added: "It will be great to see her coming back to her roots and singing with the same band that she started out with as a child.

"Her mum Valerie was a trained pianist and from a very young age Amanda said that she wanted to be an opera singer. We thought it might just be a phase that she would grow out of it and thought it'd be something new the next day like being an air hostess.

"She went to Southlands High School and Runshaw College and now there is a theatre there named after her. She never changed her ambitions and she has performed in front of thousands of people – she went from the sublime to the ridiculous."

Amanda's parents say her fame as a world class opera singer hasn't changed her as a person.

Roger said: "Mandy has always been very kind hearted and recently held a concert for 150 people to help raise money for a local church which needed a new roof. When she heard about the fundraising she agreed to do the concert and she will perform light opera and a piece with the band.

"Everyone who comes will see that Amanda is still the same person that she was when she left Chorley. We are very proud of her and her achievements."

Amanda has won critical acclaim and Norman Lebrecht has described her as the only British soprano on the world stage.

Her rise to fame featured in three television documentaries and she has since performed as part of the BBC Proms. She is also mum to three boys.

Valerie added: "It will be very special to see her perform again with the Rivington and Adlington Brass Band.

"Audiences always react wonderfully to her and in the past I have even known roses to be thrown on to the stage.

"She always said she wanted to be a serious opera singer, but to have a career like hers is a chance in a million."

Tickets for the July 4 event are now on sale and can be bought from Robert Miller, band secretary, on 07882302110, Valerie Roocroft on 01257 791666, or Anthony Roocroft on 01257 279368.