YORKSHIRE soprano Lesley Garrett will raise the roof and pounds too when she performs at the Wesley Centre in Malton on July 5.

Proceeds from An Evening With Lesley Garrett will go to the £1million appeal to transform the Methodist Chapel, in Saville Street, into the fund

The fund-raising will secure the future of the Grade II-listed building with plans to equip it, not only as a place of worship in the 21st century, but also as a community hub and "high-end concert hall and performance space".

"I have a very special connection to Yorkshire," says Thorne-born Lesley, 64. "It is where I breathe my heritage and see my family – it will always be home to me – so I am so delighted to perform in this beautiful venue.

"There's nothing more wonderful or exhilarating than the intimacy of experiencing music live. Music can have such emotional resonance, it matters to us all, and I hope to really connect with the audience with this intimate live experience. Performing when you care about the place and the people in the place just adds that little bit extra, so this will I hope be very special for the audience in Malton."

Already the Wesley Centre has hosted one such fundraiser on June 15 with cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, and again the format will combine music and chat: in Lesley's case songs performed with pianist Anna Tilbrook, interspersed with stories from her 30-year career in classical music world.

Lesley now lives in Epworth, the Lincolnshire birthplace of John Wesley and Charles Wesley, making next Friday's concert all the more significant for her, given the concert location and the hymns associated with the brothers.

Likewise, her love of singing dates back to childhood in the pit village of Thorne, near Doncaster. "I went to Thorne Grammar School and I have everything to thank the village for because the miners were passionate about music and a lot of my early repertoire came from that time when there were choirs and brass bands on every corner," she says.

"My mother sang in a choir, my grandfathers were musicians and my father had a voice to rival Pavarotti."

She is delighted to be performing in aid of the Wesley Centre Appeal. "I was very interested when I learnt that the event was to raise money for the appeal as I've raised money for the re-purposing of the Church of England church in Epworth, in the same way that the Methodist Chapel in Malton is going to be re-purposed, not only as a fine concert hall but for all sorts of community events."

Looking forward to singing in the chapel building, Lesley says: "It's the perfect place to sing, the acoustics are wonderful, and that makes my heart sing.

"It's going to be one of An Evening With...shows, which I've been doing for some years, talking about my life and the wonderful things that have happened to me and singing the songs that have mattered the most to me since making my debut at the Wexford Festival in 1980.

"I'm very grateful still to be entertaining people, and it's lovely that the audience can ask me question and join in the songs."

Lesley's accompanist next Friday will be Anna Tilbrook, a former University of York student. "We met through working for a Sheffield charity, Lost Chord, which employs young musicians and singers to perform in care homes for dementia sufferers," she says. "It's lovely for musicians to do as you can see the effect the music has on the patients as they smile and sometimes sing along, remembering the words of old songs.

"I did a concert with Anna at my aunty's care home, and she was able to play anything and everything, so ever since then she's been my regular accompanist."

An Evening With Lesley Garrett, Wesley Centre, Malton, July 5, 7pm. Tickets: £19.78 to £24.04 at eventbrite.co.uk. Donations can be made to the appeal at maltonwesleycentre.org.

Charles Hutchinson