A CONCERT in aid of vital medical research was launched in Winchester yesterday.

Despite pouring rain, supporters, sponsors and committee members for Cancer Research UK met outside Winchester Cathedral to launch a concert which will help boost funds for the charity.

The Winchester Choral Concert will take place in the historic Cathedral in August, bringing the 120-strong Gaudeamus Chorale to the stage.

Clinical scientist and surgeon, Tim Underwood, was at the launch to show his support, alongside Steve Brine MP.

Mr Brine said: “What I like about this event is that yes, we are raising money for cancer, and yes there’s the big money donors and people with deep pockets that make significant donations, but actually fundraising across the country is also down to devoted individuals who just get up and make this kind of thing happen. It’s the little platoons of dedicated people that can hopefully raise a lot of money.”

Mr Underwood said that with the support of local groups, the charity could make significant advances in research.

“Cancer rates have improved from one in four people living in 1970, to two in four today – and that is because of the money raised by people like this,” he said. “The Cancer Research UK strategic plan is to make that number three in four people living for ten years once diagnosed. This cannot happen without research which is wholly funded by the public.”

Conducted by Graham Wili, the concert includes Fauré’s Requiem, along with Ave Maris Stella by leading contemporary composer Cecilia McDowall, Vaughan Williams’s evocative Five Mystical Songs and Parry’s majestic Blest Pair of Sirens –which was performed in Westminster Abbey at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

They will be joined by Welsh baritone Dyfed Wyn Evans, soprano Rachel Johnson and organist Iestyn Evans, director of music at St James’s, Spanish Place, London.

It will be held on Saturday August 16 at 7.30pm. Tickets cost between £12 and £20.

For more information or to book, call 01962 857275 or go online tickets.winchester-cathedral.org.uk.