CONNIE Fisher paid a surprise visit to Penarth this week - dropping in on a couple of community initiatives while filming her forthcoming BBC Wales TV series Connie’s Wales.

The 28-year-old Sound of Music star was in town on Tuesday (February 14) to visit Hats for Heroes project starter Tina Selby; and she took the opportunity to learn some line-dancing with group BJ2 Line Dancing Events in the process.

The new series focuses on community-based voluntary organisations, and the West End wonder made switching from musical theatre to presenting seem like a breeze.

“This series is all about the great work that people are doing voluntarily in Wales,” she said, as she chatted bwteeen takes while learning to knit in Tina's Grove Place home.

“We are also meeting people with unusual or interesting hobbies, and in this instance we managed to kill two birds with one stone as Tina is a member of a local line-dancing group!

“People like Tina give up so much time and effort," she added.

"The success of her project is incredible, and you can see the fruits of their labour in the letters and pictures the grateful troops send home.”

Tina, whose Hats for Heroes initiative - started in 2010 - will have sent nearly 7,000 hats to soldiers in Afghanistan when the next batch leaves, said it had been a shock to learn that Connie wanted to meet her.

“I thought ‘oh my god’ – it’s amazing how this scheme has blown up and the support it has generated has been phenomenal,” she said.

“I never anticipiated this. It’s the icing on the cake.

"But I need to say that without my failthful army of knitters - both here in Penarth and further afield - this would never have been possible.”

Many of the knitters who have contributed to Tina’s work attend the line-dancing class at St Augustine’s Hall on Albert Road, and Tina arranged for them to meet Connie for a bit of fun after the interview.

Wearing one of her newly-knitted hats, Connie helped lead the group along with instructor Sian Jenkins.

Knitters Pat Morgan, Pauline Lediard, Betty Williams and Glenys Brayley were among those who enjoyed meeting the TV star.

“I think it’s a wonderful project Tina started and a wonderful day here today,” said Mrs Morgan.

Mrs Williams added: "The soldiers deserve all our help and it brings a lump to your throat when you see how much they appreciate it. It’s an inpirational message and it’s great that it has earned the recognition it deserves.”

And despite making it seem easy, Connie admitted she struggled with some of the dancing moves!

“It’s harder than it looks,” she said.

“Hats off to all those who came along!”