A BARROW councillor is taking strides to put classical music on the map by planning the area’s first festival.

Despite there being a ‘rich diversity’ of musical talent in the Barrow area, Parkside councillor Therese Assouad noticed a lack of live local classical performances.

With the help and support of friends and some professional musicians, the councillor began planning for the region's first classical music festival.

She said: “Some 20 years ago I moved from Oxford to Barrow and I have never regretted doing so. Barrow has so much to offer with its rich history, wonderful natural environment and friendly, caring people.

“But one thing that I felt was missing was the availability of hearing live professional classical music performances.

“Undoubtedly there is a rich diversity of musical talent here but very few classical performances these days. With the help and support of friends, some professional musicians, a grant from the Sir John Fisher Foundation and, more recently, some sponsorship from Barra Culture, I sought to fill this niche.

“Furness Classical aims to bring more classical music to the borough of Barrow with live performances from established musicians to support emerging artists and to introduce children to music and music making.

“We are hopeful that by holding such an event and encouraging visitors from other local areas to join us we can help raise the cultural profile of Barrow and enrich peoples' musical experiences. In these difficult times we cannot underestimate the therapeutic value of music.”

The group is hosting the inaugural event from October 5 to October 7 at St Mary’s Church in Dalton, where musicians Julian Jacobson, Anthony Hewitt, Akiko Ono and Roman Kosyakov will be performing from 7pm. There will also be a children’s workshop in Barrow Library on October 2.

Tickets are £10 and can be purchased at www.eventbrite.co.uk, St Mary’s Church, R&T Music in Barrow and Squirrel in Ulverston.