A new musical based around World War One will premiere in High Wycombe this weekend.

Of Heroic Hearts, written by friends Alan Garmonsway, who previously lived in Bourne End, and Paul Cawte, who lives in Hughenden Valley and was for many years the chairman of the local residents’ association, decided to combine their creative talents and interest in history to create a brand new historically-based musical to commemorate the centenary of the Great War.

Paul explains how the idea was born: “We were on holiday with our partners in France and got together over a grand piano and started to formulate a concept.

“I’ve always been interested in history and at that point I was particularly interested in World War One because it was the start of the centenary. We discovered that Alan had in his portfolio a song called Harvest of the Drum that he wrote with a chap called Drew Thomas, which became an essential part of the production.

“It took us about four-six months to put the whole thing together and then we thought it was quite good.”

Alan, who wrote all of the music and some lyrics for the musical, adds: “We have assembled an excellent cast, choir and musicians from the local area, and we are looking forward to a compelling and atmospheric performance.”

Paul, who wrote the script and lyrics, continues: “We have paid great attention to the historical accuracy of the period, and this comes through in the piece. It also offers the opportunity for schools, acting groups and choirs to perform it for learning as well as entertainment.”

The two friends have been fortunate to enlist the services of John Timewell from Flackwell Heath as director for the show. John has been actively involved as performer and director with many musical and theatre groups in the area.

Once they had a script and a cast they made a demo CD which they took to people to discuss the progression of the production and Wycombe District Council swiftly came on board.

“The chair of the district council was Lesley Clarke at the time, she listened to the CD. At that point everyone was looking forward to doing something to mark such a tragic battle for the British Army in 1916, and most places were doing vigils.

“Wycombe wanted to go a stage further and do something unique and remarkable so the council came back to us, and the new chairman was very encouraging so we put forward to the council for a grant to support the production which was then approved.”

The High Wycombe branch of the Royal British Legion has also been particularly supportive and all proceeds are to be donated to the RBL Poppy Appeal – most appropriate as the Royal British Legion was founded by General Sir Douglas Haig, who was the Commander-in-Chief at the Battle of the Somme.

All Saints Parish Church, 8 Castle St, High Wycombe, HP13 6RF, Saturday, July 9, 7.45pm. Details: 01628 522854, ofheroichearts.com