Three wounded, injured and sick veterans created their own stop-motion animation film at the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Colchester, Chavasse VC House, as part of a wider project led and produced by The Bridge for Heroes in association with Riarmato Productions.
Bridge for Heroes is a contact centre based in Norfolk for military personnel, veterans and their families and was facing threat of closure in 2014. Help for Heroes was able to provide the charity with a grant of £27,392 to keep the centre running. Since then The Bridge for Heroes has embarked on an exciting project, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, to produce a series of 12 stop-motion animation films based on World War I. The project is called ‘The Great Story’ and will feature 12 stop-motion animations (2-3 minutes each) made by 12 groups of people. These animations are based on important and defining events of World War I.
The three veterans were working on the 10th animation based around animals on the front line. Veterans Steven Vaughan, Colin Branch and Dave McCafferty who had never met each other before, discussed ideas and story line development and very soon came up with a plot focussing on the theme that animals were heroes too. Following this they let their creative juices flow by drawing their scenes and characters before learning how to use the stop-motion equipment and manipulated the drawings to create their moving animation.
Among the group was Dave McCafferty, from Felixstowe, Suffolk. Dave was medically discharged in 2007 after suffering degenerative injuries to his knees and lower back, and has only recently begun using the Recovery Centre after finding out about it from his wife who was looking for support and friendship for Dave now she is working full time. He was persuaded to give the animation project a go by staff at the Centre and surprised himself with what he achieved. Dave said:
“Thank you for talking me into attending the WW1 animation event. I really enjoyed it, who would have thought I had an imagination and was able to vocalise it.”
The premier of ‘The Great Story’ will take place in Kings Lynn in September where the veterans will be able to see the results of their hard work.
If you have been wounded, injured or sick as a result of military service then Help for Heroes could support you. Visit www.helpforheroes.org.uk/get-support to find out more.