More than 17,000 music fans descended on Delamere Forest last weekend for the annual Forest Live gigs - which saw Gary Barlow make an emotional return to his hometown.

Former Beautiful South singers Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott kicked off a weekend of glorious sunshine with a rousing performance on Friday evening which was supported by Billy Bragg.

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott formerly of the Beautiful South perform live at Delamere Forest

The following night, it was the turn of Gary Barlow who wowed the crowds in what was a hugely anticipated homecoming gig for the former Take That star who grew up in nearby Frodsham.

And it was clearly an emotional event for Gary, who said in several tweets how special the experience was for him.

Gary Barlow performs live at Delamere Forest

“I was quite taken aback tonight by how important it felt to play Delamere Forest,” he wrote. “Just three miles from where I was born. A place I played in as a child and enjoyed exercising in as an adult. Being back there also reminded me of how much I’ve done and achieved in the last 28 years.

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He added: “I thought of my dad a lot during the performance. He lived his whole life in Frodsham and would have been so proud watching me playing to all the great people of the area. What a night and again, what an audience.”

Paloma Faith performing at Delamere Forest Live - Sunday June 10 2018

Gary, who also posted a proud picture of his own personalised pie made for him by Coward’s butchers in Frodsham, was supported on stage by singer Jason Brock.

Meanwhile, it was Paloma Faith and support act Elli Ingram who brought the house down on Sunday evening, playing to delighted crowds as the three-day concert series came to an close.

Gary Barlow on stage at Delamere Forest

All three events were a sell-out, making this year’s line-up one of the most successful ever at Delamere Forest.

Rob Lamb, Event Manager for Forest Live, said: “Over 17,000 music fans attended the three concerts over the weekend. We were particularly delighted that Gary Barlow made his home forest debut!

“We hope that those who attended a forest concert for the first time will look to come back again to Delamere Forest on another occasion to enjoy the recreational facilities available.”