Sir Donald Sinden to star in Winchelsea film

Sir Donald Sinden
Sir Donald Sinden

VETERAN actor Sir Donald Sinden is to star alongside local people in a community film being shot at Winchelsea on Sunday.

The film is about a small event that took place in the town in 1899, when soldiers marched through en route to the Boer War.

A little girl got so excited that she threw a red felt slipper down to the passing troops, one of whom caught it and took it for a good-luck charm. The girl’s sister recounted the story some 80 years later.

At the time, the great actress Ellen Terry lived in Tower Cottage overlooking the Strand Gate, where she was often visited by Henry Irving (played by Sinden).

In the film, these two figures will be watching the troops march past from the garden of Tower Cottage. Sir Donald, who lives near Tenterden, is a patron of the Irving Society.

The producers of the film, community group Winchelsea Moving Pictures, is appealing for costumes for the extras who will play the townsfolk watching and cheering the soldiers as they march past. If you can help with any late Victorian or Edwardian clothes or hats, please call 01797-224446.

The film is being produced with the assistance of the Rother Arts Development. Some of the funding has been provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The story is also being commemorated by a panel of drawings that will go on display 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’s “All Our Stories” scheme.