Selfless souls in Northumberland have been immortalised at a new cinema complex at Cramlington.
People who have made a positive difference to their community and the lives of others had their handprints cast in concrete for permanent display at the new Vue cinema.
The heroes and their families then rubbed shoulders with celebrities, including North East former Liberty X singer Michelle Heaton and stars from TV series Geordie Shore, at a premiere at the venue last night.
Bosses at the new nine-screen complex sought nominations of friends, families, neighbours and colleagues of people thought worthy of being immortalised at the facility at the Manor Walks shopping centre.
They were inundated with suggestions and settled on five people, four of whom were at the cinema yesterday to have their handprints cast in concrete, for permanent display at the venue’s entrance.
Among them were Warneford Kilgour, 44, of Dipton Grove, Cramlington, who was nominated by his sister Claire Gibson having given one of his kidneys to his dad, also Warneford Kilgour, two years ago.
Mr Kilgour junior, a driver for a pharmaceutical company in Cumbria, said: “He was on dialysis three times a week, if I had not done it for him, he would not be here by now. Thankfully it has all worked out really well for both of us. He is getting healthy and I am fine.”
Of the handprints, Mr Kilgour, who also carried the Olympic torch last year, added: “It is a big honour. For my children it is something for them to show their pals, it is a privilege.”
Another of the five was Paula Ball, 55, of Ravenshill Drive, Ashington, who nominated a seven-strong team which raises money for the Breast Cancer Care charity of which she is a part. The team has raised nearly £43,000 since 2006 through a variety of activities.
Mrs Ball, a weight loss consultant, was inspired to raise money for the charity after her sister Cynthia Campbell and niece Lynn Sturgeon were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and 2006 respectively – the latter when aged just 34. Both are now in remission.
Mrs Ball went for a check after her relatives were diagnosed and a pre-cancerous lump was found, which she had to have removed.
She said her loved ones’ suffering had been a “nightmare” but added: “It is absolutely wonderful to be recognised for the efforts. It is just a whole team thing. It is nice to recognise the hard work that is put into it.”
Cinema 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 want the nominees, those who were nominated and all Cramlington locals to feel like they are in Hollywood and we hope our Walk of Fame style handprints in the new Vue will inspire future generations to keep on helping out their community. For us it is about rewarding the right people.”
A quartet of winners and their families last night mingled with celebrities on the red carpet for the venue’s preview screening of the new Disney Pixar film Monsters University.
Joining Michelle Heaton and the stars from Geordie Shore were Jessica Wright from TV series The Only Way is Essex and Duncan James from pop band Blue.