THIS WEEK IN 1994: Cinema helps make a dream come true

Stephen Shipp ready to watch Aladdin. PPP-180626-222128001
Stephen Shipp ready to watch Aladdin. PPP-180626-222128001
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Leukaemia sufferer Stephen Shipp did not need to resort to a genie of the lamp to make his dream to see Aladdin come true.

The eight-year-old from Waterlooville had the pick of the seats in a cinema given over to him at UCI Port Solent.

The magical star of the fairy tale became Stephen’s hero after he saw the film while being treated at Southampton General Hospital.

When Stephen left hospital, he asked for the video, only to find it had not been released.

So the cinema arranged a special showing after a family friend, Heather Turvey, contacted them.

To make it a special day, they offered Stephen an auditorium to himself for free, which he shared with about 45 friends and relatives.

Staff saw that Stephen, of London Road, and his guests were well catered for, with free popcorn, drinks and posters.

His mum, Diane, said: ‘We can’t thank everyone enough for making this such a special day.’

Stephen was diagnosed as suffering from one of the most severe forms of leukaemia, which meant long spells in hospital.

UCI deputy general manager Stephen Keith said they were pleased to help.

‘It was no trouble to arrange it for someone as special as Stephen,’ he said.