A CELLO that brought peace and hope to soldiers shivering in the trenches 100 years ago will play again on Armistice Day at Windsor Parish Church.

Its extraordinary story began in 1904 when the 'little black cello' was given to Charles Preuveneers by his father - a famed Belgian cellist.

Charles played it at every West End theatre - and then as a soldier was asked by the top brass to go home and collect it. It subsequently entertained tommies all over Flanders and at the Somme with the Pierrots Concert Party.

For years it remained safely stored under a grand piano at the home of Mr Preuveneers' son Victor in Windsor.

Now John Bruce - who is Charles Preuveneers' grandson - and his wife Emma have arranged for the cello to play again at 11am on Sunday, November 11 at the centenary Armistice service at Windsor Parish Church commemorating the anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Poignantly it will be played by a German student Janina von Enckevort, who lives in Clewer where her mum is a church bellringer at St Andrew's alongside Mr Bruce.

Mr Bruce is a television director who has worked on Poirot and adaptations of the Women in White and Sherlock Holmes.

He said: "This will be the first proper performance given by this cello since it performed in front of George V in 1918. It is a bit of a wounded soldier itself, it was sat on during the Battle of the Somme and the bridge went right through the cello."

Now it has been repaired by a leading expert in Newbury - by a young German woman called Kathrin Hugel.

Emma Bruce said: "Its eventual destination will be the Imperial War Museum. But we wanted to bring it back to life one last time, to give it a last chance to sing."

As well as playing a major part in the 11am Armistice service the cello will perform in concert at the parish church on the afternoon of Sunday, November 11 at 2.30pm. It is hoped residents and their families will turn up in force.

Mrs Bruce said: "We would like them to bring any momentoes they may have. The concert is free but contributions to the Poppy Appeal will be welcome."