Wimbledon Choral Society have the privilege of sharing the stage with illustrious tenor, Ian Partridge, at his last ever public performance this Saturday.

The concert will also mark the last Christmas concert for MD Michael Ashcroft before he stands down in Summer 2009.

‘Carols for Choir and Audience’ takes place at St. Paul’s Church and will be Partridge’s final swanson after a long and celebrated career spanning over half a decade.

“It’s time to stop, I can’t go on forever!” says Partridge. “A few people want me to carry on but I think I persuaded them its the right time for me. When you decide it’s time to stop you have to stick with that decision and not carry on doing farewell concerts!”

Often accompanied by his sister Jennifer on piano, Partridge calculated they have done over 430 recitals together: “We gave our last performance together at Westminster School recently. It was wonderful, people were so supportive but of course it was a sad thing.”

He has also performed over 2000 concerts, appeared in 530 radio and TV broadcasts and has 150 recordings to his name.

An impressive resume for a man who was awarded a CBE for services to music.

“Some things I am more pleased with than others, I am proud of my recordings of Schubert and Vaughan Williams and I got to go round the world with Prunella Scales on the ‘An Evening with Queen Victoria’ tour!”

Despite hanging up the high notes, Partridge remains a dedicated teacher: “I will continue to teach at the Royal Academy. It is very rewarding and some of my pupils will be ones to watch in the future, I like to try and follow their careers.”

He has, however, nothing good to say about reality singing competitions like X Factor: “I can’t bear them, it’s like going to the zoo!”

Now a man of leisure, Partridge will dedicate more time to his passions of cricket and horse racing as well as continuing with his commitment to the WCS: “I am very proud to be the President of Wimbledon Choral Society, they put on marvellous concerts and are very well supported.

Michael Ashcroft has done a great job and I am really interested in the direction Neil Ferris will take the society.”

Carols for Choir and Audience, St. Paul’s Church, Southfields. December 20, 7pm. Tickets £13 (£8). www.wimbledon-choral.org.uk