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24 September 2014

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James West's photo gallery

The Heart of Billinge by James West

Please tell us about yourself:
I’m thirty-five-years old and originally from Blackburn. When I left college I moved to London where I worked as a sound engineer for eight years. While I was in London I met Lucy, and we decided we had to escape from the capital. I now work in Liverpool city centre and Lucy commutes to Manchester so we’ve split the difference and moved to Wigan. Our two-year-old son Jack keeps us busy and gets cheekier and cheekier every day.

What is your story about?
My son, Jack, was born two years ago at Billinge Hospital just outside Wigan. The hospital was home to maternity services in the area for a long time. Most of my neighbours were born there, as were most of their children. It was where my wife Lucy went for her antenatal checks. It was where we first saw Jack on the scanner’s grey screen. And it was where we he was born.

The buildings stand on the brow of a hill and are visible from all around – I think I’ve got an unreasonable emotional attachment to the place.

Why did you choose to tell this particular story?
Billinge hospital has now closed and the developers are moving in.
Making this film has helped me sort out my feelings about this. At first I was saddened by it, but now I realise what precious gifts Billinge Hospital has given the community over the years.

What was the experience of making your digital story like?
I loved it, having written the script, chosen the images and then put it all together using professional software I feel a real sense of achievement. I also feel a real sense of ownership of my film. It is my story and I made it happen.

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