A very special royal guest will be among the audience as a Southampton charity celebrates its 30th birthday this weekend. 

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh will be the guest of honour as cardiac charity Heartbeat brings Musicals from the Heart to the stage at Mayflower Theatre on Sunday. 

The glittering event is produced by celebrated Broadway and West End performer Earl Carpenter, best known for his starring roles in Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera.

Daily Echo: Earl Carpenter

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It will star an array of Hampshire-based stars of the stage, such as Holly-Anne Hull, Lauren Byrne, Harry Chandler and James Hume.

The Royal Patron of Heartbeat, The Duchess last visited Heartbeat in 2015 for the opening of a new cardiac unit for young adults at Southampton General Hospital. 

Mark Ind, Chief Executive of Heartbeat, told the Daily Echo: " Her Royal Highness has been a true pillar of support and inspiration throughout the years.

"We extend our heartfelt gratitude to The Duchess for her ongoing patronage and look forward to an unforgettable evening."

Michael Ockwell, Chief Executive of Mayflower Theatre, added: "It’s a real privilege to support Heartbeat with this event and it is all the more exciting that we will be welcoming their patron, HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh to our theatre."

Since its launch in 1992, Heartbeat has worked tirelessly to provide the best quality cardiac care as it supports the Wessex Cardiac Unit based at Southampton General Hospital.

Projects spearheaded by the charity include Heartbeat House, the charity’s 25-bedroom ‘home from home’. The house is designed to support and provide respite to families of cardiac patients undergoing treatment. It costs £87,000 per year to keep the facility running and relies solely on donations.

Another Heartbeat-funded project is its innovative 3D heart campaign, which is revolutionising the approach of surgeons when carrying out invasive cardiac diagnostic testing.

Costing £600 per heart, surgeons can utilise specialist cardiac modelling software to easily scan the patient’s heart using non-invasive methods. This creates a detailed blueprint of the heart, which can then be sent to a 3D printer to produce an identical plastic model, offering an in-depth look at the organ and any defects it may have.