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Romford’s community play tells story of American hero during Second World War

PUBLISHED: 10:02 23 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:02 23 July 2018

L-R: Joe Rolfe, Lola Samuel and Bobby Rolfe who are featuring in this year's community play at The Brookside Theatre, The Good Intent. Photo: Hannah Poole

L-R: Joe Rolfe, Lola Samuel and Bobby Rolfe who are featuring in this year's community play at The Brookside Theatre, The Good Intent. Photo: Hannah Poole

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The story of a heroic American pilot who saved hundreds of school children during the Second World War is coming to Brookside Theatre.

More than 25 people took part in this year's community play, The Good Intent at The Brookside Theatre. Picture: Hannah Poole.More than 25 people took part in this year's community play, The Good Intent at The Brookside Theatre. Picture: Hannah Poole.

More than 25 cast members between the ages of 10 and 80 are taking part in this year’s community play, The Good Intent.

The Good Intent tells the true story of pilots stationed at a Hornchurch airfield during the Second World War, and in particular the story of Sanders Draper, an American pilot whose bravery saved the lives of more than 650 local children.

With many emotional and uplifting songs, the audience is able to gain an insight into the minds of the lives that were touched by the extraordinary Sanders Draper.

The cast includes grandparents John, 75, and Lesley Dunn, 67, and two of their grandsons, Joe, 10 and Bobby who is eight-years-old.

The Good Intent, a community play about a heroic American pilot is coming to Brookside Theatre. Picture: Paula Harris-Brett.The Good Intent, a community play about a heroic American pilot is coming to Brookside Theatre. Picture: Paula Harris-Brett.

Joe said: “I am really excited to be learning all about spitfires and I am surprised how people had rationing during the war.”

Bobby added that he was shocked when he realised, “they can’t even order out for a pizza.”

Written and produced by playwrights Gerry Sweeney and Dave Ross, the wartime musical is a timely production that coincides with the 100th anniversary of the RAF and the 21st anniversary of the plays first production at the Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch.

“[The story] is incredible and it’s quite poignant,” said Gerry.

“When we did the show 21 years ago we had some elderly people attend the show who were in the classroom when Draper’s plane crashed into the ground.

“The Battle of Britain was over, so children were at school and the crash peppered classrooms with small rocks.

“A member of the audience said how he threw himself on his teacher and pushed two others out of the way to protect them from the stones.”

The musical tells the story of Draper but also fictional stories of local people who are affected by his heroic act.

Gerry added: “It’s our history and our heritage. I would say we’re paying our outmost respects to the fact that these are real people who experienced this day.”

Sponsored by Allen Fords, The Good Intent will be playing at Brookside Theatre from Tuesday, July 24 - Saturday, July 28 at 8pm and 2pm on Saturday.

To book tickets call 01708 755775.

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