Woodbridge: Special screening of Oscar tipped film for stammer charity

THE father of a young man who took his own life because he had a persistent stammer has praised Oscar tipped film The King’s Speech for raising awareness of the disorder.

Colin Firth’s portrayal of Prince Albert - who later becomes King George VI - has won him critical acclaim, including a Golden Globe award for best actor.

The English monarch was only able to over come his stammer after teaming up with an eccentric Australian speech therapist.

Last night Alan Barker - whose son Dominic died in 1994 aged just 26 - praised the film and said he hoped it would increase awareness of stammering.

He and his wife, Helen, who live in Holbrook, near Ipswich, set up the Dominic Barker Trust - known as Dom’s Fund - in 1997 to fund research into the causes and relief of stammering.

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Mr Barker was speaking following a special screening of The King’s Speech at the Riverside Theatre in Woodbridge.

He said: “The evening went very well. The cinema was full and many more people applied for tickets than places available.

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“It is a superbly made film and has raised awareness about stammering.

“First because of its scale and success and secondly because it is not part of some government initiative, it isn’t being pedalled by the Department of Health. It has come in sideways and made people instantly aware.

“A stammer isn’t something that’s magically curable, there’s no pill. It’s about persistent training. You can’t go along to a therapist and say, ‘right, that’s it. I’m finished.’ You have to practice it all the time.”

Mr Barker said he would like to thank everyone involved in Sunday night’s fundraiser for all their support.

Ticket proceeds from the screening went towards the trust, which has supported research at Suffolk College and University of East Anglia.

Research is also now being carried out at University Campus Suffolk, which is looking at stammering in children.

For more information visit www.dominicbarkertrust.org.uk.

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