Dream fires the imagination of Olympic author Frank Cottrell Boyce

St Helens Star: Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Gary Conley at Dream Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Gary Conley at Dream

WHEN acclaimed writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce and the creative team were mapping out their vision of the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, a picture of the artwork Dream took its place on their ‘wall of ideas’.

Now the author, who grew up in Rainhill, has made a fresh visit to the former Sutton Manor pit site to record a documentary for BBC Radio 4.

Once again he is drawing inspiration from the 20-metre high sculpture of a girl’s head that aims to pay tribute to the mining community and represents something bright and new coming out of the ground.

Miners and artists involved in its creation took inspiration from the St Helens’ Latin motto, Ex Terra Lucem, roughly translated as Out of Earth Came Light, as did Frank when drawing up ideas for the industrial scenes in the ceremony and the Olympic cauldron.

The award winning novelist, who is an ex-West Park schoolboy, is making a programme examining the DH Lawrence novel Sons and Lovers, which is celebrating its centenary.

The book is not only considered as an evocative portrayal of working-class life in a mining community, but also a study of family and class.

Frank called on Gary Conley for help and the former miner, a leading figure in bringing Dream to the town, contributed to the recording.

Gary read the opening paragraph of the novel and spoke about mining life in St Helens, the community of Sutton Manor and Dream.

Frank said: “I was at Dream the weekend before we started work for the Olympics getting inspiration. Both the phrase Ex Terra Lucem and a photograph of Dream were up on our wall as we wrote the Opening Ceremony. And of course, Ex Terra Lucem is in the souvenir programme.”

Gary said: “It blew me away when he told me how much he likes Dream and that it inspired him.

“I can’t tell you how proud that makes me feel and how proud we should all be in that we have somebody and something in St Helens that was the vision behind a ceremony heralded and admired by millions.”

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