CIRENCESTER Parish Church will be saying farewell to its director of music at a special concert in April, to mark his departure.

After 16 years in the role, organist Dr Anthony Hammond will play his last concert as Director of Music at Cirencester Parish Church on Easter Sunday at 4pm.

He has been appointed to the role of director of music at the church of St John the Evangelist, Princes Street Edinburgh.

During a programme of events at the Parish Church, between April 13-21, Dr Hammond will demonstrate why Cirencester can be proud to have one of the finest organs of any British parish church.

Music for Holy Week and Easter will include a silent movie with improvised sound track, music and poetry as well as a concert of some of Dr Hammond's favourite organ works.

The programme include:

Saturday, April 13: Cecil B. De Mille's 1927 The King of Kings (the first movie of life and passion of Christ), with improvised organ accompaniment by Anthony Hammond. 7.30pm. Tickets £10, available on the door or from the church shop.

Sunday, April 14: The Stations of the Cross in words and music - The poetry of Paul Claudel, read by the Revd. Canon Graham Morris, with improvisations at the grand organ by Anthony Hammond. 6.30pm. Free entry, retiring collection.

Sunday, April 21: Annual Easter Sunday Organ Recital - In his farewell concert as director of music and organist Anthony Hammond will play works by Bach, Franck, Dupré and Vierne (Symphonie IV) and an improvisation. 4pm. Free entry, retiring collection.

2020 will mark the 10th anniversary of the organ's dedication, following an extensive rebuild project, under Dr Hammond's direction.

Following this Dr Hammond founded the Cirencester International Organ Festival and, since then, the church has welcomes world-class performers from around the globe.

Dr Hammond said: "I'm delighted to have been presented with the wonderful opportunity that is my move to Edinburgh and my new post.

"I will be very sad, however, to say goodbye to Cirencester and our incredible instrument. The organ has been a part of my life for many years - both in planning its rebuild and then enjoying the fantastic and versatile opportunities for music-making, teaching and liturgy that it presents.

"I'm proud of the fact we've been able to use the organ to bring people into the church for concerts, movies, children's performances and even a wine tasting event, as well as church services. I believe, truly, that it should be an instrument for the community and town as a whole to enjoy in its Parish Church. I just hope, people continue to enjoy the organ in Cirencester Parish Church and to appreciate the real gem that the town has at its disposal".