RENOWNED poet and broadcaster Roger McGough will open this year’s Hardy Conference in Dorchester.

Mersey poet Mr McGough, who was in The Scaffold band in the 1960s and has won awards for his humorous verse, is top of the bill on a packed programme for the biennial conference celebrating the great Dorset author.

The conference is on Saturday August 18 and Mr McGough’s talk starts at 8.30pm at the Thomas Hardye School.

Other events include a series of lectures at the United Church in Dorchester from the likes of Tamara Drewe, creator Posy Simmonds, and a range of popular walks around Hardy Country.

Evening performances during the conference include a barn dance and an operatic performance of Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

Secretary of the Hardy Society Mike Nixon is urging local people to support the event and said the evening with Mr McGough in particular was something to look forward to.

He said: “This event is open to everyone.

“You don’t have to be in the society or be a delegate to come along.

“Having seen him before, I know Roger puts on a great show for all the family.

“As a bonus he will be launching a brand new book of his poems, called ‘As Far As I Know’, and signing his books on the night as well as answering questions.”

To check out the full programme of events, visit the website or call either 01305 251501 or 01305 837331 for more information.