ORGANISERS of a visit by a Lithuanian youth orchestra are pulling strings left right and centre to borrow violins and cellos after the musicians’ instruments were grounded.

The Panevezys Youth Orchestra is arriving in Weymouth and Portland next week as guests of the One Voice Choir.

However, they have been told they cannot take their instruments on the flight unless they pay a hefty extra charge.

Now organisers are hoping that schools and musical groups will be able to loan instruments to the orchestra for the duration of their stay.

John Ellis, who runs One Voice Choir with his Lithuanian wife Grazina, has been arranging the visit.

He said: “We have been told that the orchestra cannot bring their violins on the aircraft.

“The musicians were hoping to bring them as hand luggage but the sizes appear too big and the cost of them bringing them in the hold is prohibitive.

“There were 14 violins in total and three cellos. We have already found two violins and a trombone and French horn, which is great news, but we are still three cellos and 12 violins short.”

He added: “The trouble is that Lithuania is a bit off the beaten track and the big airlines such as British Airways don’t go there.

“Ryanair does and you can get tickets pretty reasonably depending on the time of year, but then you have to pay for everything after that.”

Panevezys Youth Orchestra is arriving in Weymouth on Monday, April 4 and staying for a week. They will be spending time in three primary schools in the area and performing at three concerts.

John said: “We have been organising the trip for a long time and have had a few little problems along the way, but we thought we had cracked it. Then we got the call about the instruments.

“Lofts, garages, under the bed – all these places need to be raided in the quest for instruments.

“It promises to be a special series of concerts.”

If anyone can loan violins or cellos to the orchestra, please call John on 01305 815531 or 07779 772264.