CHRISTMAS has come early for Ludlow College student Jack Purkis.

Jack, aged 18, of Craven Arms, was stunned and amazed to receive an anonymous £5,000 donation to help pay his Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) fees.

He was selected for one of the 16 places on the foundation acting course.

“The donation is an incredible gesture for which I am extremely grateful and it will be immensely helpful in paying both my fees and living costs,” said Jack.

Jack has starred in many Ludlow College productions, including the hugely successful Return to the Forbidden Planet last February and Victor/ Victoria the previous year.

His course is 24 weeks and he will be living with extended family in Barnet.

Jack hopes to follow in the footsteps of former Ludlow College student Dan Wilby, who also took a foundation acting course, and who appeared in Much Ado about Nothing at Ludlow Castle this summer.

In the future, Jack is hoping to become involved in both TV drama and theatre productions and would like to write and direct something of his own for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival next year.

Although he doesn’t have an agent yet, he is hopeful that his RADA teachers will help him secure one.

“Jack has worked extremely hard to get to this level,” said Jonathan Davis, principal of Ludlow College. “Many toplevel drama students fail in their attempts to secure a place at RADA so it is to his credit that he has been accepted first time at one of the UK’s leading schools of dramatic art.

“We are thrilled to hear of Jack’s benefactor and it is truly wonderful that there are still such kind and generous people out there who are willing to help aspiring actors like Jack get started, particularly in times of economic hardship.