Video@ King’s Lynn hosts gala film premiere

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The Corn Exchange may never have seen anything quite like it ... a gala premiere for a series of films on the theme of war, many made by Lynn children.

The Great Story is a collection of 12 stop-motion animations that focus on the First World War made by 72 young people.

VIP Red Carpet Premiere for The Great Storey at King's Lynn Corn Exchange. ANL-150923-220401009

VIP Red Carpet Premiere for The Great Storey at King's Lynn Corn Exchange. ANL-150923-220401009

It was an international project co-ordinated by the Lynn-based forces charity Bridge for Heroes, but among those making the films were primary pupils from Holly Meadows, in Pott Row, Whitefriars in Lynn and second school pupils at King Edward VII Academy.

Also involved were children from King’s Lynn Air Cadets, the Freebridge Tenant Group, the Young Carers and Marham Junior School.

The gala night on Wednesday was attended by the High Sheriff of Norfolk, Nicholas Pratt, the borough mayor, Coling Manning and a host of other VIPs.

But all eyes were on the immaculately attired men of the 1st The Queens Dragoon Guards in their red dress uniforms.

People attending the night took it in turn to have their pictures taken with the Guards in the VIP area.

Martins Strals, the man behind the project, said it had really taken off thanks to royal support when Mike Taylor from Bridge for Heroes went to Kensington Palace.

He said: “Prince Charles very much liked the project and although obviously he was very limited in offering his time he was able to offer vital words of encouragement that really pushed us forward.”

Mr Strals said the original idea was for the 12 films to be made by young people aged between 12 and 25 but in the end it became from six to 52.

One film on the famous 1914 Christmas truce in the trenches was made at the Berlin-British School in Germany, another on the intervention of the British fleet in the Baltic was made by children in Ventspils, Latvia, as it widened out to become an international project.

“The first third of the process was research,” said Mr Strals, “the second saw the children have to come up with the story and the third part was the making of it, the cutting up of the animation and the post-production.”

The films of about two minutes have narration from such people as General The Lord Dannatt, Lorraine Kelly, Tony Hall of Freebridge Community Housing and the borough mayor.

“It is not a comprehensive guide to World War I but a taste and a stimuli to learn more about history,” he said.

Speaking to two of the young film-makers showed just how much they had got out of it.

“I want to be an actor now,” said Brandon Young, 13, one of the Army children involved.

Aiden Bell, 15, said: We learned it was terrible for everyone. not good at all. A lot of them died.

“But if it was not for those millions of people we might not be here today. We could be living in terrible conditions or living as slaves.”