Cambridgeshire

Yesterday star backs Save Ely Cinema campaign

Himesh Patel
Image caption Himesh Patel, who has made a short film in support of the campaign, said: "It's wonderful to give back to where you came from."

The star of the latest Richard Curtis and Danny Boyle film has given his backing to a campaign to save an independent cinema in his home county.

Himesh Patel starred in Yesterday, playing a singer-songwriter who was the only person to remember The Beatles.

He is supporting a campaign to raise £17,000 for the cinema in the Maltings, Ely in Cambridgeshire.

The actor said he knew how important small, community cinemas were to him when growing up in Huntingdon.

Image caption Himesh Patel attended a screening of Yesterday at the riverside Maltings and took part in a Q&A afterwards

The ex-EastEnders actor has made a short film to raise awareness of the Save Ely Cinema campaign and attended a screening of Yesterday at the Maltings.

He said independent cinemas gave "more people from diverse backgrounds access to cinema, in the same way as those of us fortunate to have access to them if we live in a city".

He added: "People from a more rural communities should have access to the same amount of art - and places like this give it to them."

Ely Cinema at the Maltings has been showing films, as well as theatre, ballet and opera productions, for more than 20 years.

Image copyright Yesterday/Working Title Films/Danny Boyle
Image caption Yesterday imagines a world where Himesh Patel's character can pass the Beatles' songs off as his own

Two years ago, a multiplex cinema opened just outside Ely, which has seen a gradual decline in audiences at the single-screen Maltings venue.

Operator Babylon Arts said it can no longer afford to subsidise it.

Chief executive Claire Sawyer said the organisation did not receive any core or regular funding.

Save Ely Cinema quickly raised £3,000, meaning it could renew its warranty and maintenance contract for the projector, and £11,000 has been donated so far.

Ms Sawyer said the cinema was a "valuable asset" run by community members, that offered its audience a say on what gets screened.

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