Local stars get the Hollywood treatment as new cinema opens

Celebrating the opening night of Vue cinema in Cramlington. Picture by David Charlton
Celebrating the opening night of Vue cinema in Cramlington. Picture by David Charlton

Cramlington got a taste of Hollywood when the new state-of-the-art Vue cinema opened in the town.

The Manor Walks complex welcomed celebrities Michelle Heaton from Liberty X, former boy band Blue member Duncan James, and stars from reality TV show The Only Way is Essex for a preview showing of new Disney Pixar movie Monsters University.

And there were five local heroes who were nominated to receive ‘A-list’ treatment.

The five worthy winners had their handprints immortalised in concrete and these will be on permanent display.

They then walked the red carpet before enjoying the evening’s presentation accompanied by their families.

The Cramlington celebrities selected to be ‘Vue’s Hollywood Stars’ for the night were Scott Bell, Warneford Kilgour, Sandra Butler, Paula Ball and Laura Hall.

Vue general manager Jayne Rooney said: “We were so touched by all of the people that selflessly nominated their friends, family members, colleagues and former teachers as Cramlington locals worthy of celebrity status.

“We wanted the nominees, those who were nominated and all Cramlington locals to feel like they were in Hollywood and we hope our ‘Walk of Fame’ style handprints in the new Vue will inspire future Cramlington generations to keep on helping out their community.”

Scott Bell, aged 34, is former Blyth Spartans footballer and Cramlington local through and through. He was nominated by Stephen Kemp.

Scott has motor neurone disease (MND), an irreversible condition that destroys the nerves that power the muscles.

Stephen said: “Scott has been an inspiration to hundreds in the local community for the way he has handled this devastating news.

“Everyday I am in awe of how he continues his battle against this disease.”

Scott set up a charity – www.scottbellfund.com – and campaigns tirelessly with help from his family to raise awareness of MND, which will shorten his life.

Warneford Kilgour, husband, brother and father of two, was nominated by his sister Clare Gibson.

Their father was diagnosed with a kidney infection and he was told that his condition would only worsen.

The family was asked if they wanted to be tested to find out if any of them would be suitable donors, and it turned out that Warneford was a match.

Claire said: “There was a lot of worry and upset within our family, which was understandable.

“I think it’s only natural that family fear the worst in situations like this.”

On the day of the transplant, surrounded by a tearful but supportive family, Warneford fell asleep for the six-hour operation.

On waking up, the first words he spoke to the nurse were “How’s my Dad?” To be told that he was recovering well.

Warneford said: “The following day, I was allowed to see my Dad and honestly you couldn’t imagine the difference in someone so quickly, he looked unbelievably well.

“In fact people said he looked in better condition than what I did.

“It was his birthday the next day and he said it was the best present anyone could have given him.”

Gillian Cowley nominated Sandra Butler who, during the last ten years, has led a team including colleagues, local business contacts and school pupils and teachers to develop the Wetlands Project.

Gillian said: “Sandra has worked tirelessly to bring nature into an urban environment so that local schoolchildren and residents can learn about nature with a ‘hands on’ approach.

“Sandra’s own enthusiasm for all things nature is infectious.”

The project continues to develop, with beekeeping and birdwatching.

Cramlington High School has just completed a project on the Wetlands and held an exhibition.

Paula Ball nominated a team of family members, including Joanne Ball, Pat Taylor, Claire Campbell, Claire Miles and Lynn Sturgeon, who have worked diligently over the last seven years to raise money for Breast Cancer Care.

Paula said: “We have raised over £42,000 by hosting numerous events including a ball at Linden Hall, bag packing, organising sponsored walks and a stall at Morpeth Fair.”

Sophie and Caitlin, both high school pupils, nominated Laura Hall, their steel pans teacher at Northburn Primary School.

Laura organises fundraising events for charities such as Help for Heroes and Barnardos.

Laura keeps the members of the steel pans club close together like a family, always encouraging and helping her students.

The group has grown over the years and Caitlin and Sophie are now part of the senior band in high school.

Caitlin said: “Laura is a kind-hearted person who believes in all of her students and she pushes us to do our best.”

Sophie added: “This is our way to say a massive thank you to Laura for all those great years we have had playing steel pans and the many more we have to come.”