Published on 1 May 2014

Remembering another side of Bob Hoskins

I wonder how many people remembering Bob Hoskins’ huge contribution to film and television will note his kindness and generosity in the voluntary sector. I write, rarely, less as the anchor of Channel 4 News, and more here as the Chair of the New Horizon Youth Centre, where I was director before I became a journalist.British Independent Film Awards - London

New Horizon works with some of the most vulnerable young people in society – those without a dependable place to call home. The 16-21 year olds who come to the centre in Euston, London, sleep rough, or in emergency shelters, or sofa surf with friends and contacts.

When in 1995 we completely rehabilitated the building in which the centre is housed – thanks to the Lottery’s ‘My Space’ programme – I asked Bob if he would open it. He proved amazingly enthusiastic to do so. Despite a time in which he was jetting in and out of Hollywood, Pinewood and beyond, Bob made absolutely certain that he ring-fenced the date.

On the due day he cut the ribbon with charm, modesty and humour. He proved a most delightful contrast from some of the gangsters and villains his screen persona suggested. He spent several hours chatting with anyone and everyone who had come to celebrate the new building. I was especially struck by the ease with which he talked with some of the homeless young people. He seemed to have a genuine capacity to get inside the often awful world in which the centre’s users struggled to find a way.

This was an extraordinarily decent and lovely man.

We are more than sad at his passing.

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2 reader comments

  1. Meg Howarth says:

    Helping out at New Horizons last Boxing Day was pure pleasure. As for the ‘rehabilitation of the building’ which Jon mentions above – it’s a light, bright, welcoming place, the food-growing in the purpose-built planters out the front softening an inner-city area and making an especially pleasant first impression.

  2. David McGrath says:

    For the rest of us, his presence on the Silver Screen was immense. Should we mention the BT adverts?

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