THE Gwent actress who is starring in musical film blockbuster Les Miserables says she was one of many who benefited from a widely-respected Gwent music service.

Caroline Sheen, from Caerleon, said it would be a great shame if Newport council went through with its proposed cut of £292,000 in funding to the Gwent Music Support Service (GMSS).

Newport council is yet to make a decision on the cut and says its proposal does not mean the service will end.

She said she was lucky to benefit from GMSS as a youngster, having learned to play clarinet and violin.

With the service Ms Sheen appeared with Gwent Youth Orchestra as a narrator for the Carnival of the Animals by Saint Saens, and performed at the South Bank Centre in London as part of the Music for Youth festival in 1993.

"I recently returned to my old primary school in Lodge Hill, Caerleon, and was very impressed with the interest and enthusiasm the pupils had for music," she said.

"Music not only educates, it enhances social activity and also contributes to other key areas of education such as mathematics, literacy and history.

"A great many projects from the support service will have to go with these cuts, projects that benefit those with special needs and those from underprivileged backgrounds.

"That would be such a great shame. Music may become elitist and that would be a very sad thing for the youth of Newport and Gwent.

"The very ethos of music is that it can be shared by all."

Newport council has said that it has proposed to remove GMSS' funding, not end the service, aiming to make it self-sufficient while finding ways to offer financial support to less well off students.

Ms Sheen, a former Caerleon Comprehensive pupil, stars alongside Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe in Les Miserables, where she plays one of the film's factory workers.