Duchess lends a helping hand to Portsmouth pupil at film premiere

The Duchess of Cambridge with a Portsmouth Grammar Juniors pupil at a Shaun The Sheep themed event at Bafta's headquarters in London
The Duchess of Cambridge with a Portsmouth Grammar Juniors pupil at a Shaun The Sheep themed event at Bafta's headquarters in London
The Royal Pier Hotel, now Rees Hall.

NOSTALGIA: No bath for 10 weeks

  • Youngsters mixed with royalty at event hosted by BAFTA
  • It celebrated launch of new Aardman film
  • Children took part in demonstration to show how stop-start animation works
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WHEN Mei Mei Reilly got stage fright when visiting Bafta in London, a real-life princess stepped in to lend a hand.

The 10-year-old was at an event celebrating the launch of the new Shaun the Sheep film by Aardman Animations.

But when she got the chance to go on stage to demonstrate how the stop-start animation worked, she got the fear.

Only for the Duchess of Cambridge to step in and hold her hand.

Mei Mei said: ‘I enjoyed being at Bafta, what made it better and really special is that I got to hold Princess Catherine’s hand and she helped me get over my fears of getting on stage in front of people.’

She was one of a group of five pupils from Portsmouth Grammar Junior School invited by the 1851 Trust to attend an event at Bafta to celebrate the launch of Shaun The Sheep: The Farmers Llamas.

It was great to take the children to London and to see how engaged they were with all the activities

Alasdair Akass

Representatives and children from charities supported by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry were invited to take part.

The youngsters got to watch the film and take part in Shaun the Sheep-themed model-making workshops with the animator team from Aardman as well as having the opportunity to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

The pupils from Portsmouth Grammar Juniors attended having won a competition held for the whole of Year 5 to design a friend for Shaun the Sheep.

Aspiring animator Andrew Davis, 10, said he had a good time.

‘It is the best thing I have done so far and I got to make a really cool llama.’

But the highlight for the Portsmouth pupils was being invited up on to the stage to take part in a demonstration of how stop-start animation works.

The pupils were asked to slowly walk up along the stage and pretend to get into a large suitcase.

Alasdair Akass is the CEO of the 1851 Trust.

He said: ‘It was great to take the children to London and to see how engaged they were with all the activities.

‘Offering opportunities to young people to become inspired by learning new skills is at the heart of the Trust’s mission and though clay animation isn’t quite our core activity it would be fantastic to have given encouragement today to the next Nick Park.’