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High hopes for Pan celebrity audiobook

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By Donald Turvill
Dumfries and West
High hopes for Pan celebrity audiobook

A NEW Peter Pan audiobook voiced by some of the country’s biggest stars was released this week in aid of Dumfries’ Moat Brae Trust.

The shortened version of J.M. Barrie’s classic Peter Pan: The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up features, amongst others, actor Kit Harington, comedian David Walliams and Moat Brae patron Joanna Lumley, with proceeds being split between the trust and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

Discussing how the audio project came to fruition, Moat Brae’s centre director Simon Davidson said: “It originated very early in my tenure as centre director at Moat Brae, it was Joanna’s idea fundamentally and she wanted to do something to raise money for the trust. At that stage, the house wasn’t open; it was still in the salvage phase and they were getting the house ready to open to the public so it began about 18 months ago and it was all Joanna and Martin Jarvis who did the production of it – it was Martin’s production company that oversaw the physical recording of it and Joanna pulled in some of her friends and colleagues from showbusiness who recorded it over a few days.

“It’s an abridged version; Joanna’s concept was to get the original book down to about 7000 words, so the whole thing can listened to in about two hours. It captures the key elements of the story, the text is the same, it’s Barrie’s words still but they’ve just cut it down and each star takes a chapter each.

“The profits that are raised by the book, which is available online and as a hard copy and a two CD version, will be split between ourselves and Great Ormond Street Hospital which is great, they’ve been doing some promotion with it as well.”

Asked of his favourite of the several celebrities who contributed to the book, he replied: “Joanna Lumley is our patron and she’s behind the whole project and has driven it from the start and it was her idea, she’s been such a great supporter of Moat Brae.

“But what I would say is that it’s nice to see other names get involved; I’m a big Game of Thrones fan so to get Kit Harington involved was really good.”

Ahead of yesterday’s release, Joanna Lumley said: “He haunts us all: Peter Pan has never grown up and has never let us forget him. His shadow found in a drawer by Tinker Bell trails round the corners of our eyes. As I now know, like a grown-up Wendy, that most of our lives are lived in our minds, this strange, thrilling, charming and unsettling work beckons children and adults alike into the world of make-believe, without which our lives would be intolerable.

“A host of stars has gathered to read the story aloud; their gift to the charity is a gift to us all. The Peter Pan Moat Brae House fires our imagination and draws us into the world of Neverland.”

Moat Brae and its surroundings on the banks of the River Nith – which Barrie called “an enchanted land” – were a great source of inspiration for the original Peter Pan story he wrote as a play.

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