A DORSET pensioner has devoted three years of his time to organising a national children’s World War I remembrance concert.

Despite battling prostate cancer, 78-year-old Ron Dawson spends several hours every day at his computer to make sure the event will go without a hitch.

It will take place at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham on Saturday November 3 thanks to funding he secured from the government, the National Lottery, the School of Music and the Arts Council.

Ron, who lives in Winterborne Stickland in north Dorset, wanted the concert to be in Birmingham to ensure it is a truly national event.

The retired psychologist and lecturer has invited hundreds of school children from across the UK to the concert and has organised a fleet of coaches to bring them from as far afield as Cardiff, Derbyshire, Norwich and Leicestershire.

His wife, Tricia, said: “Ron’s guiding ethos is that if the spirit of remembrance is to endure it must be passed on from generation to generation.

“With this in mind he has arranged a flag parade of 57 flags - one for each country involved in the war - and a two hour programme which includes a brass band, a pipe and drum band, an acoustic guitar ensemble, a Welsh choir, readings, poems and monologues, plus a large symphony orchestra.

“He has co-ordinated the whole event, attended planning meetings in person and by skype, was taken round the NEC to inspect the facilities and liaise over the stage layouts, and spent hour upon hour listening to clips of music. He has written the whole programme, overseen the budget and is underwriting any financial shortfall.”

Ron has invited Colin Lewis, 85, from Sandbanks to be his special guest at the event. Mr Lewis’ father, Sidney, was the youngest soldier to serve in the First World War, enlisting at just 12-years-old.

He made it to the frontline and fought i the Battle of the Somme before his mother demanded his return.

Mr Lewis shared his father’s story with students at Parkstone Grammar School who have made the story into an original musical composition. They will be among the performers travelling to the NEC.