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About The Middy

The Mid-Suffolk Light Railway closed on 26th July 1952. The Heritage Lottery Fund has funded The Laxfield and District Museum to make an animated film, called “The Middy”, with the help of local school children and voice over recordings from local people who had some contact with the railway before it closed. Laxfield and Wetheringsett primary schools as well as Hartismere school at Eye all contributed to the film by providing background and animation artwork to complete the production.

title

The film is being produced and directed by Hedley Griffin, who lives in the village of Laxfield. Hedley has spent nearly forty years as an animation director, some of the time working for BBC and Channel 4 Schools Television. He also publishes his own children’s books on child safety, DangerSpot Books Ltd.

Hedley collected about six and a half hours recording of seven people’s memories of the Middy before it closed and what association they had whilst working on the line or having some experiences of the railway. An edited version of this was the made for the soundtrack for the film.

Children's artwork of flying ducks over a passing train

Children’s artwork of flying ducks over a passing train

Artwork was then created by Hedley with photographs and photocopies of backgrounds and train equipment for the children to copy. Cartoon characters were also drawn for the children to copy while Hedley explained how to make the animation work during the classroom workshops, with the children drawing more pictures to complete the animated sequences. All of this was prepared beforehand as a storyboard for everyone to follow.

Laxfield School

Laxfield School

 Wetheringsett School
Wetheringsett School

Most of the class would create the background artwork using colour pencil crayons on A3 cartridge paper whilst a few pupils created the animation drawings in black and white to be coloured in the computer during the processing stage. All of the artwork was scanned into computers in Hedley’s studio for the final stage of the production before being edited for the completed film.

rabbit

Many of the children really enjoyed this opportunity to express their creative skills and discovered ways of drawing and making cartoons. One young child at Wetheringsett school announced at the end of the lesson “that it had been the best day at school ever!”

Hartismere School

Hartismere School

Wetheringsett School

Wetheringsett School

Another child from Laxfield school gave Hedley a hand drawn card to say thank you. All of this was very deeply appreciated.

Thank you card

Thank you card

Thank you card inside

Thank you card inside

On  Wednesday 8th May there was a celebration and projection of the film at Laxfield School. Many local people attended as well as some of the children involved. Copies of the DVD are available at the Laxfield Museum priced £5.

cows in a truck

cows in a truck

level crossing gate with girl and bird

level crossing gate

dog carrying newspaper

dog carrying newspaper

loco passing by

loco passing by

3 Comments
  1. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Great to see this fantastic blog by one of the projects Ideas Bank is helping to support 🙂 Can’t wait to see more!

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