A CHRISTMAS concert raised hundreds of pounds for a new community project on the Swindon borough's outskirts.

The sell-out fundraiser at St Michael’s Church in Highworth saw singer James Williams perform Christmas favourites as well as feel-good music to an audience of 124 people.

His 13-year-old daughter Imogen performed for the first time in front of an audience, singing on her own and duetting with her father.

Raffle prizes worth £400 were donated from local businesses including Tesco Express Highworth, Tesco Ocotal Way, Story Stop. Highworth’s Coop supported the bar on the night.

James said: “I’d never visited Highworth before. St Michael’s Church was such a beautiful setting. It was a privilege to perform to a full house for such a great charity which will hope to make a real difference in Highworth.”

The evening raised £1,135 for Big Highworth which help pay for a new community shed.

The aim is to create a safe space open to everyone, and some seed funding is needed to get the project off the ground.

Big Highworth founder and organiser Alison Boucheron-Cross said: “We’re delighted James came to Highworth. People came from far and wide to support this event and be entertained.

"To have raised enough money to get a community shed started is so humbling and we’re delighted.”

Pauline Gallagher and Julie Zerebecki attended the event. They said: “What a great cause to support and James was brilliant! Such a talent.”

The group behind the Highworth Community Shed has been planning for three years to gain charitable status and find a venue.

The project will enable social connections and friendship building, sharing skills and knowledge, to reduce the feeling of isolation and improve mental health in the Highworth area.

Charity chair and trustee Adrian Young said: “Our thanks to Big Highworth, who booked the Welsh tenor James for their Christmas concert fundraiser in aid of us. Wow, what a performer.

"He had the fans, old and new, dancing in the aisles. I doubt St Michael’s has ever had such an engaged performer and audience.

Secretary and trustee Chris Kent said: "The concert went better than expected and I’m absolutely overwhelmed with the feedback we’ve had and of course the money raised for Highworth Community Shed.

"It reflects the hard work put in by Big Highworth and the community shed teams and of course James Williams' talent.”

Visit www.facebook.com/BigHighworth or https://localgiving.org/charity/highworth-community-shed/