AWARD-WINNING guitarist Michael Partington has got behind the campaign to save Puddletown’s library.

Mr Partington, one of the leading classical guitarists in America, will be holding a concert to help raise cash for the group fighting to save the village library that is under threat of closure.

The musician, who grew up in Milborne Port on the Dorset-Somerset border and now lives in Seattle, was due to visit his parents later this month and has decided to put on the performance in Athelhampton House while in Dorset.

The 42-year-old, who has been in America for 20 years where he is now a university lecturer in music, said he has fond memories of visiting the library as a child.

He said: “The libraries are a really vital resource to the community.

“If this precious resource is taken away from rural communities it is effectively denying many that access, and the opportunity that access gives everyone to enrich their lives cannot be underestimated.

“Playing these concerts is a way for me to give back to something that helped me along my way and I’m proud to show my support for this cause.”

Mr Partington, who has played all over Europe and North America, added: “As I child I fondly remember regular visits to the library.

“Sometimes it would be to find a specific book that I was looking for, but perhaps more importantly also stumbling across books.

“The opportunity to make these discoveries and profit mentally and spiritually from reading should not be considered a luxury but a fundamental right that every member of any community should be afforded.”

The guitarist, who will also be holding two concerts in Somerset, is expected to play a variety of music including romantic and Spanish repertoire, baroque music and Cuban music.

Mr Partington’s mother Christine said: “Michael knows how hard we are fighting to save our libraries.

“When he heard so many libraries are under threat he volunteered to give up time from his short holiday to give a solo recital on behalf of communities who are trying to save their libraries.”

Mike Chaney, of Friends of Puddletown Library, said the group was raising cash for its ‘fighting fund’, which will enable the village to fund the library themselves if Dorset County Council does decide to pull the plug on funding.

He said: “This concert will help the fighting fund, keep the fighting spirit, keep our profile up and give us a good time.

“It’s a wonderful gesture from this chap. He is coming from the other side of the world and will play for the libraries.”

Mr Partington will be performing at Athelhampton House on Wednesday, March 23 at 7.45pm.

For more information or to purchase tickets contact Mike Chaney on 01305 848352 or Roy Bennett on 01305 849144.