ROCK star Ian Gillan is funding a community website for Lyme Regis’s Marine Theatre.

The lead singer and lyricist of rock band Deep Purple, who lives locally, was made an honorary patron for the theatre last year.

He found fame in the 1970s with hard rock hits such as Smoke On The Water, Highway Star, and Child in Time.

The arts venue, which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, has announced that the rock star funded its new website, which was recently launched.

Gabby Rabbitts, director of the Marine Theatre, said: "Our old website had run its course and we were finding it difficult to communicate with our audience and the community. The new website is responsive, user friendly, and people can become members. We are very grateful to Ian Gillan for funding this important project and we hope that everyone enjoys using the new site."

Ian said: "I am delighted to support the Marine Theatre in its anniversary year; it does a fantastic job at bringing in names in to the town, while celebrating local performers. This new website is helping to communicate their important work to the community."