Be a movie star in Winchelsea!

A call has gone out for volunteers who would like to be extras in a community film about a little incident that took place in the Winchelsea during the Boer War. The story was told in 1988 by a lady (Katharina Forbes Dunlop) who was a little girl in the town at the time. One day, in about n1899, she and her little sister were called to look at troops marching down the High Street and through the Strand Gate on their way to Folkestone or Dover to embark for South Africa. The girls joined a crowd of villagers shouting and cheering as the columns of men passed. The little sister was so carried away that she snatched off one of the little scarlet felt slippers she was wearing and and threw it to the soldiers. One of them caught it, called out, “My mascot!” and tucked it into his pocket. Katharina said she often wondered what happened to the slipper and hoped it had brought the soldier good luck in faraway South Africa.

Filming and editing will be done by Rye Harbour-based youth training charity, Entertainment Workshops. The music for the film is being composed by the American great-niece of Katharine Forbes Dunlop, Margaret Bernstein, who hopes to visit Winchelsea to join the cast. Meanwhile, Rye resident Anthony Kimber has been researching the identity of the troops that marched through Winchelsea. He believes that it may have been a county company of the Imperial Yeomanry with which he has a family connection.

The film is to be shot on Sunday 19 August. Extras are needed to play the soldiers and townsfolk, including children. Costumes will be provided, although the producers would like to hear from anyone with further period costumes that could be borrowed for the day.

In addition, volunteers are needed to help with the hundred and one tasks that need to be done on the day, such as wardrobe, make-up, catering, marshalling traffic and so on.

The film is being produced by Winchelsea Moving Pictures (which normally runs Winchelsea Film Night), with the assistance of the Rother Arts Development, Melanie Powell. Funding for the project has been provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund and others. This small but poignant episode in the Winchelsea’s history is also being commemorated by a panel of drawings that will go on display in the summer at the Look Out in Winchelsea. This is one of a series of local historical remembrances commissioned from Winchelsea artist Julian Hanshaw by the Rother Arts Development Officer and also funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Everyone who helps will feature in the credits! If you are interested in acting or helping, please call the Winchelsea Community Answerphone on 01797-225333 and leave your contact details, or e-mail film@winchelsea.net. During filming, there will also be lots to see, with demonstrations of filming, displays about the characters in the film, and much more.