Derry taxi driver/ first responder Sean featuring in new campaign

Derry taxi driver Sean Dillon (centre) who also works as a first responder with film makers Ronan Corrigan (second left) and Hope Kemp (second right) at the premiere event hosted by the National Lottery and the BFI to celebrate their inclusion in the National Lottery Legend campaign. Also pictured are BAFTA award winning director Lucy Cohen and Dunkirk actor Charley Palmer Rothwell.
Derry taxi driver Sean Dillon (centre) who also works as a first responder with film makers Ronan Corrigan (second left) and Hope Kemp (second right) at the premiere event hosted by the National Lottery and the BFI to celebrate their inclusion in the National Lottery Legend campaign. Also pictured are BAFTA award winning director Lucy Cohen and Dunkirk actor Charley Palmer Rothwell.

A Derry taxi driver who helps save lives through his work as a first responder is to feature in a new campaign celebrating inspirational people and projects helped through National Lottery funding.

Sean Dillon’s story has been viewed thousands of times online after featuring in the National Lottery Legend series which has been specially developed in partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI).

Foyle First Responders used National Lottery funding awarded to the North West Taxi Proprietors to train and equip taxi drivers to deliver first aid or medical assistance in emergency situations. Volunteers and drivers like Sean are often first on the scene of emergencies and their intervention can save vital minutes and lives before an ambulance arrives.

Taxi drivers in Derry were first prompted to act in response to the high incidence of suicide in the city, with drivers like Sean trained to talk to those in distress and carrying throw-lines in their vehicles. The first responder scheme built on this initiative.

Sean’s story was selected by young Derry film maker Ronan Corrigan and his partner Hope Kemp, two graduates of the BFI’s educational programmes which are supported by National Lottery funding. They were mentored by Natalie Walter.

Their film, which followed Sean during a night’s work in Derry and focuses on tackling mental health issues in the city, was premiered at a special screening at the BFI Southbank, attended by BAFTA award winning director Lucy Cohen, Dunkirk actor Charley Palmer Rothwell, leading film critic Rhianna Dhillon and a host of leading industry figures.

Ronan said that he is very proud of his home city of Derry but that the succession of late night suicide tragedies prompted him to explore making a film on the subject. “When we met Sean, his story of everyday people tackling issues like the city’s mental health crisis in any way they can was one I thought had to be told,” he said.

Jonathan Tuchner, director of the National Lottery Promotions Unit, said National Lottery legends like Sean were “ordinary people in our society who do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding”.

Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI, said the Foyle First Responder film by Ronan Corrigan and Hope Kemp from Reigate, Surrey, “is a terrific example of how the Academy is helping young people develop skills and careers in film and the related industries whilst shining a light on some of the inspirational people who do amazing things in their own communities with National Lottery funding.”

The Foyle First Responder story and that of more National Lottery Legends can be viewed on Youtube.