Lewis Sewell Memorial Trust to help 'not cocky' aspiring actors

image copyrightGillian Sewell
image captionLewis Sewell spoke to his mother about helping aspiring actors after his death

A charity, designed by a young actor with a rare type of cancer, has been set up in his name less than a year after his death.

Lewis Sewell, from Castle Donington, Leicestershire, wanted to help aspiring actors who needed financial support to go to drama school.

He told his family the charity should help people who were "not cocky" and "absolutely passionate about drama".

The Lewis Sewell Memorial Trust has received more than £33,000 so far.

Mr Sewell died in August aged 18 after being diagnosed with a malignant metastatic rhabdoid tumour - a type of cancer usually found in young children.

Before his death he spoke to his mother about leaving a legacy.

Gillian Sewell said: "He said if it hadn't been for you and dad I wouldn't have been able to go to drama school, I wouldn't have been able to afford the audition fees, I wouldn't be able to afford the travel - you take me to all my auditions.

"He said how about we make sure that maybe you support somebody else to do that to remember me."

image captionLewis Sewell died in August after being diagnosed with a rare type of cancer

His family agreed, but when they were gifted £25,000 by a benefactor they decided to set up a trust to allow them to help even more people.

The trust, which will award money to four or five people a year, was launched on Friday following a five-day fundraising walk.

Mr Sewell's family and friends walked 18 miles (29 km) every day - one for every year of his life - visiting theatres across Derby, Leicester and Nottingham.

They raised more than £16,000 to be shared between the trust and the children's hospice Rainbows where Mr Sewell died.

image copyrightGillian Sewell
image captionThe Lewis Sewell Memorial Trust has received more then £33,000 so far

The trustees of the Lewis Sewell Memorial Trust are Strictly judge Arlene Phillips and actors Cleve September and Sabrina Aloueche.

All three were in touch with Mr Sewell before his death and helped gather messages of support.

Mrs Sewell said: "Arlene was passionate about getting Andrew Lloyd Webber to give a message to Lewis so she was constantly behind the scenes making that happen.

"Lewis actually got that message hours before he died and it was incredible,"

In the future Mrs Sewell hopes to extend her son's legacy further by setting up a Lewis Sewell scholarship.

"We'll work with the London theatres to try and achieve that but at the moment we're starting with the award," she said.

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