Lewis Cowen, who has just retired from the Gazette and Herald, has a passion for performance which made him an influential figure in Devizes’ thriving arts scene.

He has been one of the backbones of The Wharf Theatre, appearing in countless productions to get acclaim.

But he has also taken a keen interest in youth theatre.

Carole Berry, direct services manager at Devizes Town Council and founder of First Stages youth musical theatre group, said: “Before I came to work for the town council, I knew Lewis from his various appearances at The Wharf Theatre and other events around the town, as well as being the local newspaper reporter for what seems like forever.

"From my work at the town hall, his is the first name in my little black book of contacts.

“He is always the one to contact about anything we wanted highlighted, from mundane litter issues to publicising local events and indeed anything with a possible story.

"When my husband Chris and I started First Stages youth musical theatre group seven years ago, he was interested, encouraging and supportive from the start.

“Last year, he joined the group to play the part of the evil headmaster Squeers in SMIKE - the musical, composed by Simon May.

“He showed off both his acting ability and his obvious skill and delight in being a brilliant song and dance man and part of the young cast.”