A plea has been issued to choirs and orchestras keen to take part in an ambitious musical about the life of St Edmund, the former patron saint of England.

Bury Mercury: William Shelton recording 'St Edmund's prayer' in Studio 124 in Paris.William Shelton recording 'St Edmund's prayer' in Studio 124 in Paris. (Image: Archant)

It’s come from Anne-Marie David, a former winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, who has joined forces with French composer Jean Musy in a bid to create the special piece of music dedicated to the life of the saint which is hoped to be performed later this year in Bury St Edmunds.

They have already chosen the lead character for “The Legend of King Edmund” who is 23-year-old counter tenor William Shelton, a student at the Philippe Jaroussky Academy, near Paris.

And they have recorded 30 minutes of the musical at Studio 124 in the French capital in preparation for its performance which is hoped to be carried out on November 20, St Edmund’s Day.

William’s name was put forward after Anne-Marie approached the academy for a suitable vocalist whose talent and background fitted the bill.

He has lived in England and France for most of his life and was a boy chorister at Salisbury Cathedral and said: “It’s extremely exciting to be involved with the musical and I first met up with Anne-Marie and Jean at the studio in January which was very positive.

“I am researching more about St Edmund as I need to know a bit more about him and what his life was like but I have found out already that he was a huge hero for his beliefs and would not give up on them and abandon his dreams before he met his extremely violent death.”

Meanwhile, Anne-Marie said: “He (William) is exactly the voice and personality we expected to have for St Edmund. We are working hard on the musical but we now need to find a choir and orchestra to work with.”

Their search also includes pinning down a suitable venue to stage the extravaganza with hopes that the cathedral could become available.

“I know there are lots of choirs and musicials in and around the town and hopefully we can use their talents,” added Anne-Marie.

The idea for the musical came following her and Jean’s visit to Bury St Edmunds last year through James Sheen, the owner of the local website We Love Bury St Edmunds!

She came to prominence after she won the Eurovision Song Contest n 1973 for Luxembourg with her song “Tu te reconnaîtras” (“Wonderful Dream”).

The 65-year-old also represented her home nation at the competition in 1979 and sang at the festival for the 50th anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest, staged in Copenhagen, and can be contacted on 00 33 649 887 615 or via email at musiques2011@gmail.com