A HUDDERSFIELD student who fought his way back to health after suffering meningitis is ready to take part in the town's top music festival.
Richard Uttley, 17, of Whitebeam Park, Birkby, will join other music hopefuls when he performs before judges in this year's Mrs Sunderland festival.
The nine-day event, which starts on Friday, will see some 1,150 entrants taking part in 140 classes.
The festival is named after the Brighouse- born "Queen of Song", Susan Sunderland, who hosted the first event in 1889.
But for Greenhead College student Richard it is an opportunity to perform his favourite talent - piano playing.
He said: "I go to perform, not to win.
"I try to play something useful to what I am doing at the time. If you win something it is nice, but it is just good to play in public and under pressure."
Richard, who has been playing the piano since he was nine, is looking forward to taking part for the fourth year.
He said: "I live in Huddersfield and the Mrs Sunderland is quite a good festival, so I thought I'd enter again this year."
Richard is making a name for himself in music circles at the Royal Northern College of Music Junior School, Manchester, and as Britain's best young instrumentalist in ITV's Britain's Brilliant Prodigies.
But today he was gearing up to play in the open piano concerto class next Tuesday.
He said: "I am playing the first movement of the Grieg Piano Concerto, which is something I will be playing in full in a concert later this year."
Richard is also in the running for the Kirklees Young Musician of the Year, to be held on Friday next week.
But is hasn't always been plain sailing for the teenager, who was forced to pull out of the Mrs Sunderland competition in 2002 after contracting meningitis.
He said: "I don't really remember much about it. It is just like a week of my life is missing. I felt really ill before, but must have so ill that I went unconscious.
"I lost some of my hearing, but it doesn't really affect me. I feel fine now."
Richard is working towards A-levels in music, French, maths and further maths. He has been offered a place at Cambridge University to study music.