Leigh Endeavor: Dame Helen Mirren helps the Dunkirk hull ship
FILM star Dame Helen Mirren boarded a charity created to restore a historic ship that played a key role in Dunkirk … and even appeared in the Hollywood movie.
The actress was named a patron of the Leigh Endeavor Trust, a charity established in 2001 to maintain the hull boat during wartime.
Endeavor was one of six hull boats in Leigh to be acquired by the Navy to be part of Operation Dynamo, which remains the largest evacuation in military history.
The boat was featured in the 2017 film Dunkirk, written, directed and produced by Christopher Nolan.
Dame Helen, who grew up in Leigh, was approached by charity bosses to join the charity team.
A spokesperson for a charity said: “It is well known that Dame Helen Mirren lived her early years with her family in Leigh where they were involved in the community, and people remember them fondly.
“In September, the chairman of the Leigh Endeavor Trust, Michael King, contacted Dame Helen with details about Endeavor and the role the ship played in Operation Dynamo at Dunkirk in 1940. He explained how Endeavor was restored and is now at the heart of many activities.
“He invited Dame Helen to lend her name to our trust, as Patron, and she enthusiastically accepted, so we are delighted to be able to announce that Dame Helen Mirren becomes the inaugural Patron of the Leigh Endeavor Trust.”
Small ships, like the Endeavor, played an important role in the evacuation.
Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsay, who coordinated Operation Dynamo, and his team quickly realized that small boats could approach the beach and carry troops to the larger ships waiting in the wings.
John Lamb, Conservative adviser to West Leigh, said: “I think it’s great that Helen Mirren has become the sponsor of the association.
“She is a bright and well-known actress in film and industry. I hope she represents Leigh and Southend well and I wish her well.
“It has a great history and dates back to Dunkirk and is also known as a hull boat so that’s good news.”