ONE of Britain's favourite guitarists, Gordon Giltrap, returns to Banbury's Mill Arts Centre on Saturday.

For four decades, Giltrap has been one of the UK's most respected guitarists.

His obsession with stringed instruments began when he was nine years old, when a friend turned up at his house with an out-of-tune Spanish guitar.

Keen to encourage his new hobby, his parents bought him a plastic ukulele, then a Martin Coletti archtop jazz guitar.

He joined his first band in his teens and relished the opportunity to play songs by his idols - Cliff Richard and the Shadows and The Everly Brothers.

In the late 1970s, Giltrap enjoyed a brief spell as a pop star, with a hit album, Perilous Journey, and two hit singles, Heartsong and Fear of the Dark.

Over the years, Giltrap has worked with a broad range of artists, from rock musicians such as Brian May, Rick Wakeman and Midge Ure, to the jazz virtuoso Martin Taylor, the classical guitarist Raymond Burley, and the London Symphony Orchestra.

In 1996, he realised a dream of playing guitar alongside Cliff Richard on stage in Cliff's West End musical Heathcliff. As well as performing in the role of The Troubadour, Gordon arranged the overture and wrote two pieces of music.

Ticket details are available from the box office on 01295 252050.

  • A collection of paintings by Reading artist and nurse Sue Thompson is on show at The Mill Arts Centre until February 17.

Her art reflects her belief in the therapeutic effect of touch.

She said: "I believe in the healing power of my hands to comfort and care for patients and I use them in a similar way when I am painting. Painting can have tremendous benefits as a healing process and I am always interested in hearing from people or organisations who use art to enhance wellbeing."

The gallery is open from 10am to 6pm daily and noon to 5pm on Sundays.