Nearly two years ago I went to the movie premiere of ‚Urban And The Shed Crew‘.
It’s a great movie about the rough life of street children in Leeds in the late 1990s.
Lee Kirton was one of those steet children. He was the child behind Urban Grimshaw.
The film is telling the story of young Urban’s life after he was lucky to meet his future father by adoption Chop in 1996 aged 12. Chop wrote an autobiographical book about the years after this meeting that became the base of the movie. Chop’s real name is Bernard Hare.
The story of Urban and Chop is very special and unusual because the two of them formed a bond with each other. That helped both of them to search for a way back into the society for Urban who as a street child simply was neglected by this society. But it took them some time and some rough experiences to get to that point.
The film ends with the positive picture of Urban going to school finally.
Some days ago I read a blogpost about a newspaper article telling that Lee has died.
He must have been around 35 years old. The article in the Yorkshire Evening Post doesn’t say why or from what he died. But it quotes Bernard Hare:
Reading this made me very sad.
I haven’t known Lee but I have seen him. He was there when the film about his life premiered in Leeds. The local newspaper photograhed him together with some other members of his ShedCrew and with the young actors who played them in the movie. I photographed them too…
I remember that I found this moment in the cinema remarkable.
Having read the book I knew that this moment just happened because Bernard Hare took responsibility in a very unusual way by changing his own life to be able to change Lee’s life.
By the time he did that at the end of the 1990s it was the most unlikely thing imaginable that such a moment in a cinema could happen about 20 years later.
On the evening before this unlikely moment happened Bernard Hare had already pointed out in a Q&A about the movie that even after all those years Lee still often was struggeling with life. He said that Lee had good times but still also a lot of problems, that he had been marked for lifetime by his childhood.
Now he obviously has lost the fight against his old life snatching him back.
The film telling his story should long have become a block buster as it’s topic is relevant up to this very day.
Children who are unlucky to be born into difficult circumstances and have to live in public care are much more at risk of getting into trouble than children who grow up in their families. That’s absurd because children are only taken out of their families if it seems to be necessary to protect them. It looks as if this kind of protection is highly risky itself. I guess that’s what Bernard Hare refers to with his critics in the newspaper article above.
This article in The Telegraph also talks about this.
It took two years now since it’s first screening until the film seems to be ready to be released soon.
Hopefully it will be seen by many people who care and who feel that wealthy societies like our’s in Europe owe all of their children the right to grow up in safety and being loved and respected.