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24 September 2014
Inside Out: Surprising Stories, Familiar Places

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   Inside Out - North West: Monday January 9, 2006

Tsunami one year on

Tsunami child
Survivor - a child's dreams are shattered by the Tsunami

Inside Out returns to Thailand a year after its Tsunami film After The Wave.

We discover how aid raised in the North West has helped the recovery effort in South East Asia.

We all remember the Tsunami in many different ways - but for John Farrington from Rochdale - it's something he will never forget.

A year ago Inside Out brought you John's extraordinary story of what it was like to leave his family and home, and go to try and help in the aftermath of the disaster in Thailand.

A year on and John's made an emotional return and once again he took a camera with him…

"A year ago I saw sights here in Khoa Lak in Thailand, that will be with me for the rest of my life. Things nobody should ever have to see... No matter where I go they will always be with me… Which is why a year on - I just had to go back and be close to the people, the land and the sea again… looking for the light to come out from all that darkness and despair." John Farrington.

Like many people John watched the terrible events unfold on television.

Then he saw a photograph of a man holding the hand of his dead eight-year-old son.

John looked at his son Gabriel, who was also eight, and knew he just had to go and help.

He left his home and job and headed for Thailand.

"It's a decision I've never regretted, and one that's changed my life forever," says John.

"In the last year I've been able to help others build new homes and a boatyard there."

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Lancaster bombers

Lancaster plane
A Lancaster bomber restored to its former glory

On the anniversary of the Lancaster Bomber, Andy Johnson goes on an emotional trip down memory lane with a couple who helped build this iconic plane.

The Lancaster is more than a plane… it's a legend of the skies which is part of the North West's heritage.

It's also a legend which helped shape the destiny of the Second World War.

Its only when you get close to a Lancaster that you realise what an incredible weapon of war it was.

It's amazing to think that there are now only four planes left in Britain.

The first prototype of the Lancaster flew 65 years ago. The plane began its life at the A.V. Roe works at Chadderton near Manchester.

The Lancaster became a key part of RAF bomber command's strategy and was able to strike deep into the heart of Germany.

At its peak 38,000 people in the North West were working on the Lancaster.

Chadderton was joined by Woodford, Metro VICKERS at Trafford Park, and Chester plus a host of other factories were converted to make parts.

Working on the Lancaster

The plane's success was an incredible tribute to the hard work and talent of the workers who made the planes.

Don and Joan Andrew, who live near Rochdale, both helped build the bombers at the Chadderton factory.

Lancaster bomber
A Lancaster bomber commemorates WW2

The Lancaster is linked forever in their lives - they've been married for more than 50 years.

Don had served his time as an apprentice draughtsman, and after the outbreak of war worked on the design of the Lancaster.

Joan was just 17-years-old, and an apprentice hairdresser at Kendal Milne store in Manchester, when she suddenly had to swap scissors for spanners.

For Don and Joan and the many others working at the Chadderton factory the effort to produce the planes completely took over their lives - the hours were long and the planes were produced at an incredible rate.

At one point the workers built 136 Lancasters in a month.

Today the factory and its famous assembly floors lie silent and empty. It will soon close for good.

Bouncing bombs


Designed by Roy Chadwick. First flight in January 1941. Entered service 1942.

Maximum speed 280mph at 15,000 feet.

One of the reasons for the plane's success was its four Rolls Royce Merlin engines.

Renowned for its reliability and best known for taking part in the Dambuster raids in 1943.

Primarily used as a night bomber. Between 1942-45 the Lancaster flew 156,000 operations and dropped 608,612 tons of bombs.

Only 35 Lancasters survived more than 100 successful operations.

The Lancasters were the only planes that could carry and deliver the bouncing bombs which did so much damage to the dams in Germany.

The legacy of those daring raids turned the Lancaster from bomber plane into legend.

But there was a high price to pay. The bomber was an easy target, and more than half of the 7,000 Lancasters produced were shot down.

Bomber Command lost more than 50,000 men.

Although Joan Andrew spent years making the pilots' consoles for the Lancaster, she never saw the parts assembled into the plane

Inside Out takes her to Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre in East Kirkby, home to one of the few Lancasters left today for an emotional trip to see the plane up close and personal.

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Stunt school

Jacey on trampoline learning stunts
Stunt start - beginning on the trampoline

Inside Out's Jacey Normand is put through her paces at Britain`s first stunt school.

Jacey meets professional stuntman Martin Shenton who is opening his own stunt centre in Morecambe, the first of its kind in the world.

Martin is normally seen falling down stairs or through windows in TV shows such as League of Gentlemen, City Central and Wire in the Blood.

He still remembers his very first professional stunt on Casualty - a 'stair fall' with three other guys.

There's all sorts of equipment in the new stunt school designed to put trainee stunt men and women through their paces, including a climbing wall, trampolines and even a trapeze.

Martin takes Jacey through some basic stunt training including demonstrating how to fall using a trampoline.

Jacey also watches a local judo club getting to grips with the new facilities.

Fighting fit

Being able to fight is just one of the skills you need to perfect before you can become a stunt person.

So you do they make those fight scenes look realistic on TV?

"They have all sorts of different props," says Martin.

"They have guns, knives. I've got a knife here. A foam one. They're either foam or rubber. Obviously they do look a little bit like a knife but they do shape them and paint them and they look realistic.

"They have glasses and bottles but they use a special type of glass. It's like a breakaway glass - I've got one here. That is a breakaway bottle made out of sugar glass or Perspex."

Hardest and longest stunts

Martin says that the hardest stunt he's ever done was in the TV drama Wire in the Blood.

Martin Shenton
Martin Shenton - sensational stunt man

This involved leaping from a three storey building, handcuffed, and landing on a moving car.

He also holds the World Record for the longest stair fall done at the Ashton Memorial in Lancaster, involving 109 concrete stairs.

Martin managed to walk away without breaking a single bone.

Falling downstairs is extremely dangerous and even though Martin's wears full body armour, there's still a risk of injury - so don't try this at home.

Safety note: Remember Martin Shenton is a professional stuntman and all the stunts you see performed on Inside Out have been carried out under the careful supervision of a stunt co-ordinator so don't try to copy any of them.

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