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Actor Jude Law arrives in Folkestone with Little Amal


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Actor Jude Law visited Folkestone today to greet a giant puppet representing a child refugee.

The Alfie star also met with schoolchildren to welcome Little Amal as she took her first steps in the UK on the Folkestone Harbour Arm.

Actor Jude Law greets Amal. Photo by Andy Aitchison
Actor Jude Law greets Amal. Photo by Andy Aitchison

The 3.5 metre (11ft 6in) tall puppet has travelled 8,000km (4,971 miles) across Europe from the Syrian border and will now visit a string of Kent towns.

The art project is titled The Walk and involves the international theatre company Good Chance and Syrian artist duo UV Lab.

Amal, which means hope in Arabic, is travelling through eight countries to shine a light on the stories of millions of child refugees, many separated from their families.

Each city, town and village that she travels through is welcoming her with a cultural event staged by local artists, in Folkestone this includes singers as well as the visit from the Talented Mr Ripley and Sherlock Holmes actor.

Photos show Mr Law as he holds Amal's hands.

The puppet was also welcomed by school children. Photo by Andy Aitchison
The puppet was also welcomed by school children. Photo by Andy Aitchison

Amal appeared from the Harbour Arm beach dead on 4pm.

She was walked towards the old Folkestone Harbour station to a packed crowd cheering her.

She then moved along the station track stopping at times to greet some of the spectators.

Music was played along with a live singing choir and bell ringers, and she was walked for half an hour along the length of the old track up to the Rocksalt restaurant.

The giant puppets was moved and controlled by three people. One was inside the hollow torso and two others controlled each hand with poles.

Amal meets the crowd at Folkestone Harbour Station
Amal meets the crowd at Folkestone Harbour Station

Amal was created by the Handspring Puppet Company, famous for the life-sized animal puppets for the play War Horse, about a cavalry horse in the First World War.

Tomorrow she will be in Dover’s Pencester Gardens at 5.45pm and from 6.15pm leave in a lantern procession for Dover Castle.

An appeal was put out over the last week for lanterns to light the way.

Future Foundry worked with schools, community groups, charities, artists and volunteers to create the lantern and light event. Director Lisa Oulton said: “We are very excited to be one of the towns chosen to create a welcome event along Amal’s 8,000km journey.

“Our procession of light and music will light her way along the ancient pilgrim route to Dover Castle where she will discover and illuminate an incredible Lighthouse, one of the oldest symbols of safety and sanctuary.

“We are very excited to be one of the towns chosen to create a welcome event along Amal’s 8,000km journey..."

“We want to bring the residents of Dover together to show the world how creative, beautiful and welcoming the town can be.”

Amal is greeted by the crowd at the old Folkestone Harbour Station
Amal is greeted by the crowd at the old Folkestone Harbour Station
Amal's arrival on the beach
Amal's arrival on the beach

The Dover project is being supported by a range of organisations, including Dover Samphire Project, Dover Town Council, Destination Dover, Dover District Council, Dover Community Association and Dover Rotary Club.

Little Amal will be in Canterbury on Thursday, at Butter Market from noon, and go onto London and Oxford, finishing in Manchester on November 3.

For more information about the project, including how to donate to the Amal fund, visit here.

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