Staffordshire actor teams up with Coronation Street star to write play supporting SSAFA

15 October 2021

Actor, writer, and Staffordshire local Joshua Bennett, 20, has teamed up with a former Coronation Street, Brookside, Peak Practice, Last of the Summer Wine (and more) actor, playwright, and director Eric Potts to create the musical Unforgotten Heroes, which was conceived by Joshua's brother Oliver Bennett. Set in Stafford, it is based on conversations with veterans of recent and past conflicts, and focuses on WWII both on the home front and on the frontline.

Combining song, poetry, and acting, Unforgotten Heroes has been written not only to keep alive veterans’ stories and experiences, but also to raise awareness of and funds for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.

And the timing could not be better, with SSAFA’s October campaign highlighting that more than 60% of people in the UK surveyed expressed regret that they had not spoken with their elderly and now-passed relatives about their military service.

Despite Eric’s considerable directorial credentials, he is not directing the play. Instead, that honour goes to Joshua’s father Kevin Bennett – who served in the RAF for 23 years as an engineer with support operations in the Falklands War and the Iraq conflict.

Explaining more, Joshua said: “The cast, writers, and veterans have met regularly so we can all build a relationship and understand more about the reasoning behind why we are doing the show and the characters they are playing.”

Joshua said that it has been a very personal journey for him, adding: “Not only was my father in the RAF, but my grandfather was in the Royal Navy in the latter part of WWII, having joined aged just 16.

“He passed away just this year, and we tried to discover as much from him as he wanted to give about his experiences and thoughts. His dementia and then restrictions imposed because of lockdowns didn’t make this easy, but I ended up learning so much, which I’m very grateful for.”

“Through Unforgotten Heroes, we want people to take time not just to remember those who have fought for our country, but what their efforts have done to create the society we are in now.”

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