MORE than 200 people packed into St Mary’s Church last Thursday evening to see 15 acts battle it out for the title of Andover Young Musician of the Year.

The event was designed to raise money for the restoration of the church building which suffered at the hands of lead thieves.

Organiser Chris Lynn said more than £1,000 had been raised and the contest was likely to become an annual event.

The Rev Canon John Harkin, of St Mary’s, said the event had proved to be a “wonderful and memorable occasion”.

He said: “From inception, through planning and fundraising to delivery on the night, there was a real sense of purpose and endeavour, which resulted in a very professional and polished occasion.

“At the end of the evening there were so many very positive comments which reflected the success of the night, and many requests for a repeat evening again next year.”

Topping the honours board was classical musician Martin Head, from Rookwood, whose piano recital of a Debussy composition captured the hearts of the audience and plaudits of the panel of judges, who also awarded him the Hubert Dawkes Cup for the individual performer showing the most promise.

His performance pipped that of solo singer Sophie Black, from Winton School.

In the popular music section, singer-songwriter Megan Lee, from Test Valley School, took the prize with her composition Falling from Grace, which beat off the challenge from the trio from Rookwood School who performed Beneath You’re Beautiful.

The judges were Mark Lazenby, from the Quality Hotel, jazz musician Andy Pomphrey, and former Advertiser editor Joe Scicluna.

See our review of the show in the leisure section.