The man who drove the famous Hogwarts Express in the final Harry Potter blockbuster Deathly Hallows will be steaming in to be guest of honour at a charity extravaganza, at Priory Meadow Shopping Centre this weekend.
Grandad-of-twelve Leonard Hook – better known by his stage name of Leo Bond – will share his memories of appearing in the movie starring Daniel Radcliffe, at the Priory Meadow’s One Great Day event in aid of Great Ormond Street children’s hospital.
Also on the programme for the family fun day on Saturday (June 3) will be children’s tea cup rides and trampolines, which opened on Saturday (May 27), with a percentage of takings going to the charity. Face painting, balloons and lollipop treats will also be handed out, all for a donation.
It’s among more than 100 One Great Day events being held across the UK throughout June. One Great Day was established in 2014 and has so far raised over £250,000 for 93 different children’s charities along with Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity.
Len will be signing autographs in exchange for donations at the event, while sharing recollections of his long career as a supporting artist, during which he’s also rubbed shoulders with Russell Crowe, Daniel Craig and Robbie Williams.
Len, 78, will be there with his wife Dot, 75, to show pictures taken with the stars during more than 20 years working together as supporting actors on a huge number of films and TV shows.
The curtain first went up on Len’s screen career back in 1991 after he retired from his job as a contractor and landed the role as a naturist walking naked along a beach in TV series Palmer.
After a back injury forced him to retire in 2003, the couple decided to sign up with a casting agency for more work. And over the years it came flooding in.
Len appeared as a regular background artist in TV cop show The Bill, playing both a criminal and a lawyer; in Eastenders, as a punter and market trader; and Men Behaving Badly, where he frequently played a drunk, despite being tee-total.
The couple, who live in the village of South Darenth near Dartford in Kent and have a dozen grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren, met a galaxy of stars along the way and count Martin Clunes, Bob Hoskins and Sir Michael Caine among their favourite actors to work with.
Natalie Ajibade, marketing manager at Priory Meadow Shopping Centre, said: “One Great Day is a fantastic event and we are delighted to be able to support it and help raise funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital.
“We’re delighted that Len will be able to be there to share his memories, as part of what promises to be a great day out for all the family”
Frequently cast together, Dot and Len have worked together in films Four Feathers, Nicholas Nickleby and Love Actually.
Other appearances came in the film Gulliver’s Travels, where Leonard played a stableboy who had to carry a giant Ted Danson who played Gulliver, and Shakespeare in Love, where the pair formed part of the audience at the Globe theatre.
Dot once starred as a prison inmate in ITV drama Bad Girls, and also played Timothy Spall’s housemaid in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.
In the epic Les Miserables they were cast as a pair of Paris beggars and in the Bond film Skyfall they were part of the crowd in an underground station.
Dot recalled: “On Les Miserables we met the Australian star Russell Crowe and spoke to him a couple of times. Once, he saw us both sipping water between takes and made a bit of a quip about that.
“We did make a reply but he couldn’t hear us because he was sitting up on his horse at the time. On Skyfall we said good morning a few times to Daniel Craig.
“Those were our last jobs as extras because they’re long days, often from 6am until 6pm, and we were getting on a bit. But we still do our bit for charity whenever we can and are looking forward very much to meeting and talking to people at Priory Meadow.”
One of Len’s most unforgettable jobs of recent years was when he played the police officer who is pictured arresting singing legend Robbie Williams on the cover of his album, Life Through a Lens.
Len said: “He was a really nice bloke and we had a good chat while the pictures were being done.
“In fact, I could have had tickets for any of his concerts – if I’d have had any idea who he actually was!”
Len said: “I’m looking forward very much to going along to Priory Meadow next Saturday and talking about my memories of being an extra.
“One of the things I’ll be telling people about is being on the film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, which was the last one made.
“I’ve had a great life and love to share my stories with the people we meet on the charity events we attend.”
For more information about Priory Meadow Shopping Centre visit: http://priorymeadow.com.
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