A woman from East Lancashire is set to sing the National Anthem at tonight’s (28 July) Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

Samantha Oxborough, who was born in Blackpool raised in Sabden and later moved to Birmingham, has been selected to sing the National Anthem at the ceremony, which will have an audience of 35,000 people at the venue, as well as an expected one billion people watching live on TV from around the world.

She will be supported by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alpesh Chauhan, and also musicians from the Royal Marines.

In a video created for the games Samantha said she is “really excited” to perform.

Samantha, who went to Sabden Primary School and Ribblesdale High School, said: “I am really excited. I love Birmingham as a city; I moved here when I was 18 and I just didn’t go back home.

“To be part of it in this way is just incredible.

“It’s not really sunk it what’s going to happen. I’m excited but also a little bit apprehensive; I think it’s going to be a spectacular event.

“Bringing the Commonwealth Games to the city is extremely important because it’s showing the whole world what we can offer.

“There is so much culture and there is so much going on – it’s a great place to be.”

The former member of Pendle Youth Choir and Burnley Alliance Band, says the though of performing on a world stage hasn't hit her yet.

She said: “The thought of myself performing on a world stage on such a huge scale hasn’t quite settled in yet.

"But I’m not going to think about the billions of people watching, I am going to focus on my performance.

“Before performing, I do a lot of practicing. I find that it’s important to focus on exactly what I’m singing and what the words mean too.

“I am really excited though! My family and friends are also over the moon for me, and a couple of them are going to come and support me during the dress rehearsals too.”

Samantha is no stranger to success though. During her time at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, she performed in several operas and has taken part in a wide range of competitions too.

She said: “One of my proudest moments was performing at the Royal Albert Hall, where I sang in front of 5,000 people.

"But performing at the opening ceremony will be the biggest moment of my career so far, I’m very proud to be involved.”

Dan Jones, head of music and sound for the Commonwealth Games said: “Sam has an amazing voice and the decision to work with her was pretty much instantaneous as soon as I heard her voice.”

After performing at the opening ceremony, Samantha is off to perform at Kendal Calling festival in the Lake District with The Conservatoire Folk Ensemble and has high hopes for the future.

She said: “I’m keen to do more recitals and to perform for much more varied audiences.

“I’m also eager to get involved with more community events too. But the opportunity to sing at the Games will hopefully bring many more opportunities my way, and I’m so excited for the future.”

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony will take place at Alexander Stadium on Thursday 28 July from 7.15pm and will be broadcast on BBC One and iPlayer.