A SUPER soprano snatched back charitable donations from a thief midway through her classical recital.

Lucy Britner was singing Abendempfindung by Mozart to a packed Unitarian Church in Brighton when she saw two men lurking in the doorway next to a wooden bowl of cash donations.

Miss Britner said: “At first I thought they were interested in the singing but then I saw them looking at the money and one of them tried to conceal the other while he perched next to the bowl and grabbed some cash.”

The 30-year-old was forced to break off her performance last Sunday mid-note and run down the aisle to the front door.

She said: “Frustratingly, I was the only one facing that direction so I just had to run out and stop them.”

The 70-strong audience swivelled in their seats and gasped as she shouted: “What are you doing?”

Miss Britner wrestled the money back off the thief and prised open his hands to retrieve the notes.

Members of the audience, including an off-duty police officer, tried to chase after the two men but they made a quick exit.

Miss Britner’s fiancé Luke Ellis, 30, who accompanied her onstage for one song, was in the vestry arranging some flowers when he heard the commotion.

He said: “I didn’t know what the heck was going on. I had an image in my mind of someone jumping up and down in the audience and then saw what had happened. Everyone was just bewildered.”

After protecting the donations – about £150 – Miss Britner went back to the stage and finished the song.

Mr Ellis, whose parents Vic Ellis and Margaret Grimsdell also played, said: “She took it in her stride, even after physically restraining one of them.”

Miss Britner added: “It was unnerving but I had spent months practising those songs and there was no way I wasn’t going to carry on.”

The show ended on a high note, with more than £300 collected for The National Brain Appeal.

Miss Britner, of Brighton, performed her show, Centuries Of Song, in memory of her friend Alan Lodge, who died aged 29 from a brain haemorrhage.

To donate to The National Brain Appeal, visit the charity’s website at nationalbrainappeal.org