A publicity-shy playwrite, who is looked upon as something of a national treasure, will put himself in the spotlight to help local campaigners.
Alan Bennett first appeared on TV screens in the early 1960s with Dudley Moore and Peter Cook, and went on to be nominated for an Oscar for the script of the 1994 film “˜The Madness of King George’.
Over the years he has produced smash hits including the comic monologues “˜Talking Heads’ and, more recently, the highly-rated play and film “˜The History Boys’.
Now 72, the author and performer will make a rare public appearance in front of a small audience on March 22.
“˜An Evening with Alan Bennett’, at Uppermill Civic Hall, will help raise funds for Saddleworth Moors Action Group (SMAG), which is striving to find the £25,000 needed to pay for a barrister to fight plans for a series of 360ft wind turbines on the Saddleworth Moors above Denshaw.
Bennett, a proud Yorkshire-man who has been entertaining the nation for almost 50 years, agreed to come on board as he is a friend of SMAG chairman Davin Makin.
Mr Makin said: “I have known Alan for about 25 years and when he learned what we were doing he was more than happy to help us raise funds.
“These windfarms are being planned for locations all over the country and, while I do not wish to put words in Alan’s mouth, he is against the desecration of the countryside.
“Whatever your feelings about windfarms, we feel this site in Saddleworth is an entirely inappropriate location for an industrial complex.”
However, one person who is unlikely to attend the event in Uppermill is Bill Edwards, who is chairman of Oldham Environmental Forum.
He claims that the silent majority of Oldhamers are in favour of the Denshaw Moor development, which was thrown out 12 months ago by the borough council’s planning committee but back on the agenda following an appeal by the German energy giant EON.
Mr Edwards said: “Involving celebrities smacks of desperation and the fact the action group cannot convince people of their argument through logical debate.”
# THE public inquiry into the Denshaw windfarm is due to open on June 26 and last for six days.
# TICKETS for “˜An Evening with Alan Bennett’ are priced at £20 and available from the Civic Hall in Uppermill on 01457 876665, David Makin on 01457 872866 or David Harrison on 01457 875855.
By Carl Marsden
21 February 2007
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