RESIDENTS of Down Ampney are preparing to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the birth of the village’s most famous son - celebrated composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.

The composer was born at the Old Vicarage in Down Ampney in 1872 and his anniversary will be celebrated with a birthday concert at the All Saints’ Church this Friday.

Organiser Susan Philips said there is a strong interest in music in the local area. “We are very proud to have this as part of our heritage,” she said. “We wanted to take this opportunity to honour such an eminent local talent.”

Vaughan Williams composed symphonies, chamber music, opera and choral music. He also wrote a composition called Down Ampney in honour of the village, which was used in the much-loved hymn Come Down, O Love Divine.

The birthday concert will feature a performance by the Saint Cecilia Singers, who will perform Five Mystical Songs, with accompaniment from Gloucester Cathedral’s organist Robina Sabourin and ensemble.

Parish Councillor Julia Job said many tourists visit the village for the Vaughan Williams exhibition. “It is astonishing how many people have drawn inspiration form his music,” she said. “People come from all over the world to visit his birthplace.”

The exhibition was set up in the All Saints’ Church by the RVW Society nearly 10 years ago. It was curated by trustee Simon Coombs, who will be attending Friday’s concert.

Chairman of the RVW Trust Hugh Cobbe will also be attending the event. Mr Cobbe was the former head of music collections at the British Library and edited a book about the composer entitled Letters of Ralph Vaughan Williams 1895 – 1958.

The concert will take place at All Saints’ Church in Down Ampney on Friday, October 12 at 7.30pm. Limited tickets are still available, priced at £10. All proceeds will be shared between the parishes of the Ampneys, Driffield, Harnhill and Poulton. For more information, call Susan Philips on 07887 847906 or email