PIANIST Joseph McArevey proved he has the key to success.

The 70-year-old who can be heard every Thursday afternoon playing the grand piano at Olympus Fish and Chip Restaurant has won in a prestigious festival — a victory made all the more remarkable given the retired teacher stopped playing music in the 1960s.

Mr McArevey, who lives in Stoneclough, won first place Chester Festival of Performing Arts open piano class with his performance of Clementi Sonatinas No 6, an achievement he is absolutely over the moon with.

He said: "It's just brilliant to have won, to get first place.

"I was interested in music from a young age and studied music and drama with my specialist subject English literature, which I studied at Manchester University.

"After that I stopped playing, there was work and I had a young family. I only started playing again in 2016 as a retirement interest, and approached Tasos, the owner of Olympus if I could play on the grand piano."

Mr McArevey, who was head of English at Swinton High School, also plays at Lucianos, a restaurant in Horwich as diners enjoy eating out.

Since taking up the piano, which he said he had to learn again, Mr McArevey started entering music festivals and won for the first time over the weekend.

"I enjoy playing the piano," he said, "I play classical and modern — modern is easier to play. Customers seem to enjoy it and I sometimes get tips."

The staff at Olympus are thrilled and proud of his success.

Tasos Pattichis said: "His success is absolutely brilliant, how can we not be proud of him.

"He came in and asked if he could play the beautiful piano, which is the Rolls Royce of pianos and I said yes. He came back every Thursday to play it.

"He receives such good feedback from the customers and he has so much enthusiasm.

"We are so impressed."