Pupils roll out the red carpet for star

Showtime: Animator Nick Park goes back to school to reward would-be movie makers of the future
Showtime: Animator Nick Park goes back to school to reward would-be movie makers of the future
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Multi-award winning animator Nick Park received red carpet treatment when he returned to Preston to launch a new Oscar ceremony for school children – the ‘Fulwood Academy Awards’

Preston’s most famous creative genius topped off the official opening of the new Wallace and Gromit ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach with a special visit to the impressive new Fulwood Academy complex.

The Black Bull Lane school is renowned known for artistic enterprise and is only a stone’s throw from Our Lady’s Catholic High where Nick spent his teenage years.

The Fulwood Academy Awards marked the end of months of creative work by pupils across the school and sixth formers, who contributed to a major arts project on the theme of friendship.

The project was directed by playwright and screenwriter Murray Watts, of Wayfarer Productions, helped by his two son Fionn and Toby, directors of Far North Film.

Mr Watts said: “It has been quite wonderful to see a whole school come together to explore one of the most significant areas of all our lives.”

Pupils contributed paintings, poems, dances and songs which they have created, with Nick presenting awards in the first half of the evening.

The second half was devoted to the House Film Competition, where eight teams competed to produce the best short film on different aspects of friendship.

Nick said: “I am delighted to be returning to my home city of Preston, where everything began for me and it is exciting to be involved with the Fulwood Academy Awards which are promoting both creativity and friendship, two of the most precious things in life.”

Richard Smyth, principal, said: “The project has led to some inspirational, creative work and at the same time helped our students to think deeply about true friendship”.