£60,000 pledged for film about disabled Darlington man

TENS of thousands of pounds has been pledged in a matter of weeks towards a film of a severely disabled football fan.

Give Them Wings is an upcoming feature film about Darlington FC fan Paul Hodgson and his battle with childhood meningitis, which left him unable to move or speak. Mr Hodgson and his film making colleagues have battled for years to attract enough interest to make the project a success, and began fundraising eight weeks ago.

In that time, more than £60,000 has been pledged for the film through an Enterprise Investment Scheme and fundraising events. Mr Hodgson said: “It is going really well – both options are proving really popular.

“Those who can’t afford the minimum £500 to purchase shares can still sponsor towards the catering and receive a credit, or a featured extra role, depending on how much they donate.”

Ian Carter, board member at PIMM Productions which is putting on the film, said: “Paul knows Brian Little, the former Darlington manager, really well, and they were talking about the project. Brian took an instant interest and offered to do what he can to raise funds. He also introduced us to Stephen Withe, the son of former Aston Villa, Newcastle and England striker, Peter Withe.

“As well as finding possible investors, he has agreed to help organise a high profile celebrity football match, and a Sportsmans dinner. ”

Mr Hodgson added: “Brian has been a huge help and has opened many doors in order to move the production forward, and we are extremely grateful for him for this.”

Musician and actress Toyah Willcox has already been conformed to star in the film alongside award-winning director Sean Cronin and Holby City actor Bill Fellows.

Mark Stobbart from Line of Duty, Katie Sheridan from Walking The Dead and James Baxter from Still Open All Hours and Emmerdale are also signed up. The production of the film is being directed by Sean Cronin, who has worked alongside many of Hollywood’s greats in blockbusters including the Harry Potter series, and Mission Impossible 5.

He said: “I am extremely proud to have been asked to direct this heart rending, through provoking story.”

Production will begin next year. For more information about sponsorship and investment opportunities, email info@pimmproductions.co.uk.