A LONG-running celebration of Malvern's arts and musical heritage will be celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

The Autumn in Malvern Festival was first held in the town quarter of a century ago, back in 1989.

It has gone from strength-to-strength and this year will once again attract some of the most highly acclaimed names in the business to perform in the shadow of the Malvern Hills.

This year's festival gets underway on Wednesday, September 10 and will continue through until the end of October.

The principal concert is will be given by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in the new £15 million, University of Worcester Arena, in Worcester, at 7.30pm on Wednesday, September 10.

Peter Smith, founder and artistic director of the festival, said: "The festival and the university have collaborated over many years and this is the most important project to date."

Another highlight will see The Fine Arts Brass Ensemble perform in the Great Hall at Malvern College, in College Road, Malvern, at 7.30pm on Saturday, October 18.

The festival is also marking the centenary of the beginning of The First World War by running a commemorative strand through several events.

The Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy will be reading her own poems in a sequence of music and literature at Malvern College on Friday, October 17. This event is part of a special poetry education project, 'Creative Mind' being run with The Chase School, in Malvern.

Other events include talks on Siegfried Sassoon by the eminent biographer Jean Moorcroft Wilson and a discussion of the Dymock Poets, who met between the Malverns and May Hill prior to the First World War, by Linda Hart.

A host of other concerts, talks, walks and exhibitions are taking place throughout the festival.

Mr Smith is proud of how the festival has established itself over the last 25 years.

"The extraordinary loyalty of an enthusiastic core audience and a group of generous sponsors has ensured the continuation of the festival since 1989, despite periods of economic decline and funding cuts," he said.

"Musicians and artists of the highest calibre, often of international stature, are engaged to perform innovative and stimulating programmes in the surroundings of the glorious Malvern Hills."

For full details of events or to book tickets, visit malvernfestival.co.uk or call 01684 892277.