WHEN retired city policeman Dick Passmore decided to organise a music event to raise funds for the FORCE cancer charity in 2007, he never dreamed it would be so successful.
He had just beaten bowel cancer and vowed he would raise money for the centre which had supported him through his treatment.
The first concert in the University of Exeter's Great Hall, raised £6,500 and was so successful that he decided to do it again every two years.
Each time he raised more and more money, and in 2011 the total was £35,000.
Sadly over the years Dick has had to face new battles with the disease, but even while undergoing treatment he organised the concerts with his wife Rosemary. But after the 2011 concert they decided to stand down from organising the event, although they are still on hand to offer advice.
"It's one hell of an evening," said Dick. "It's a concert of popular classical music that everybody will know. Even if they don't know the piece's name or composer, they will recognise the tune.
"It is mainly music you hear all the time. Maybe one or two pieces are a little bit unusual, but we try and cater right across the board for everybody."
This year there is no change to the Passmores' successful format – the concert is specially arranged for those with an interest in the lighter side of classical music. Each item is around seven or eight minutes long and is usually immediately recognisable.
The odd theme tune from radio and television mixes seamlessly with works by classical composers – so everyone is catered for.
And this year for the first time, the show will feature a specially selected Classics Galore! Symphony Orchestra, comprising 50 top musicians from Exeter and East Devon.
The stage at the Great Hall will be specially extended to accommodate more than 200 musicians and singers.
The musical extravaganza takes place at Exeter University's Great Hall on Saturday November 9 at 7.30pm. The concert is staged every two years and is now established as one of Exeter's largest indoor concerts, attracting well over a thousand people each time.
Lympstone SW Telecoms Brass Band, the Ottery St Mary Choral Society and members of St David's Players will once again perform alongside soloists Penny Daw (soprano) and Mark Hurford (tenor).
"It takes a lot of organisation but it's so worthwhile," said the event's musical director Malcolm Matthews. "I just love making music and to be able to do it on this kind of scale is fantastic.
"It's such a wonderful cause and by the end of this concert we hope to have taken the total raised for the charity to £50,000."
FORCE fundraising manager Sarah Daniels said they are thrilled the concert is taking place again.
"We cannot thank the committee enough for coming together to ensure the future of this highly successful fundraising event," she said.
As well as the usual Proms-style finale when concert-goers are encouraged to join in with rousing favourites Jerusalem, Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory, there will also be an audience participation section in the first half of the show. The concert is on the eve of Remembrance Sunday and that will be reflected in a wartime medley of tunes that is guaranteed to engage the audience.
Popular golden oldies Pack up Your Troubles, We'll Meet Again and White Cliffs of Dover will feature in a section entitled Classics Galore! Remembers.
Tickets are available from Exeter Visitor Information and Tickets at Dix's Field.