OPERA star Suzannah Clarke is returning by popular demand to a musical event in a North-East village.

Ms Clarke, from Normanby, near Middlesbrough, is to star for the third year running in a Musical Picnic In The Park at Hurworth, near Darlington.

Hurworth Community Association has confirmed that the event, which has been a huge hit in the past two years, will take place on Saturday, July 12.

As well as first-class opera, the event will feature film themes and songs from well-known musicals to ensure there is something for everyone.

Ms Clarke, who confirmed her attendance at a meeting at Hurworth Community Centre this week, said: "This has become such an enjoyable event, which is a real credit to Hurworth.

"I'm really looking forward to July."

The international opera star was in Middlesbrough yesterday lending her support to Newcastle-Gateshead's 2008 European Capital of Culture bid.

She signed up to the Back The Buzz campaign which has attracted more than 100,000 signatures in only four weeks.

Ms Clarke has appeared at opera festivals all over the world and sang at Wembley Stadium at the opening of the Euro 96 football championships.

She will be supported by orchestras and choirs and there will again be a fireworks display.

Tickets are expected to go on sale in May and regular updates on the event will be published in The Northern Echo.