A young opera singer has credited securing a place with the prestigious National Opera Studio to the Pendle Young Musicians Bursary.

Samantha Oxborough won the £18,000 bursary in 2012, and says the money helped her gain a place at the prestigious London studio, where she will start in September.

The 24-year-old from Sabden was selected from more than 300 performers to take up one of just 12 places at the National Opera Studio on a nine month placement.

The former Ribblesdale High School student said: "The auditions were terrifying and, if I am honest, I was just proud ‘a little girl from Lancashire’, which is how I saw myself, had got that far. I didn’t expect to get a place.

"I owe it all, 100 per cent, to the Pendle Young Musicians Bursary (PYMB), I wouldn’t be where I am now without them and I owe them a lot. The same for Pendle Youth Choir where I started.

"Attending the National Opera Studio will help me get auditions and will hopefully be a huge stepping stone for me."

Miss Oxborough, 24, performed as part of the PYMB alongside the Manchester Camerata at Colne Municipal Hall on Friday May 3.

The event saw PYMB performers taking to the stage with what is described as ‘probably Britain’s most adventurous orchestra.’

Miss Oxborough, who is a mezzo soprano, sang two arias with the Camerata, including the melancholy Handel aria Lascia ch’io pianga.

She said: "I have never performed these pieces with an orchestra before and they were fabulous with me, it was a really fantastic experience."

The Pendle Young Musicians Bursary was set up in 2012 to give young musicians a chance of gaining substantial funding to help them continue their musical studies.

Applications for the next bursary will open in June.

For more information on how to enter the competition to win bursary funding visit www.pymb.co.uk