SIR Edward Elgar will return to Hereford in September, when a specially commissioned statue of the composer is unveiled in the cathedral close.

The renowned mezzo-soprano Dame Janet Baker, a singer with strong links with Elgar's music, will undertake the unveiling in a ceremony to take place in the afternoon of Sunday, September 25.

Dame Janet is well-known as both an operatic and a recital singer and her recording of Elgar's cycle of songs, Sea Pictures, regarded as one of the definitive performances.

She is also a trustee of the Foundation for Sport and the Arts, a major benefactor of the statue appeal.

The statue, which will finally be installed in its new home, was commissioned from sculptor Jemma Pearson and is now in the process of being cast in bronze at a specialist foundry near Oswestry.

Plans are currently being finalised for September's ceremony, which comes three and a half years after an appeal was launched to fund the project. The statue is intended to commemorate one of Britain's best-loved composers and the years he spent in Hereford at the beginning of the last century.