YOUNG members of the Christchurch Priory Choir will enjoy the trip of a lifetime when they travel to Venice in July.

More than 30 boys and girls will lead a service in St Mark’s Basilica, perform a late-night concert in Chiesa Santa Maria dei Miracoli, and then sing a service at the Basilica del Sant’Antonio in Padua.

Director of Music Simon Earl decided it was time for the choir to carry the banner for Christchurch on an international singing tour when he was appointed two years ago.

Since then participants and supporters have been involved in a determined fund raising campaign to make it happen.

It's more than 900 miles from Christchurch to Venice and last year the choir 'cycled to Venice' on exercise bikes.

This weekend they 'cycled back', completing the 900 miles on static training and distance measuring equipment from the Poole Wheelers club.

They completed the journey during the Christchurch Food Festival, outside the Priory. Choristers of all ages - and levels of fitness - put the miles in, and Canon Charles Stewart and Canon John Turpin made sure the clergy were not left out.

Other fund raising events have included music marathons, quiz nights, baking sales, plant sales and car washing sessions.

During the tour, the young choir members will also get the chance to explore and will visit Aqualandia Water Park, climb St Mark’s bell tower, and hopefully visit the Murano Glass Works.

Christchurch Priory Choir has places for up to 24 boys and 24 girls, who receive free singing tuition and a first-class musical education. One chorister who joined at the age of six has recently won a prestigious scholarship to the Royal College of Music to study classical opera and oratorio.

Besides singing for Sunday services at Christchurch the choir travels to sing at other greater churches and cathedrals around the south of England, participates in joint services with other choirs, and performs at music festivals. If you have any singing seven-year-olds, or want to find out more about being a chorister, please contact Simon Earl at .