Film and TV star Warwick Davis visits Sussex school

He went to Henry's classroom after the assembly to meet pupils.
He went to Henry's classroom after the assembly to meet pupils.

A Sussex school had a visit from film and TV star Warwick Davis as part of his charity work today (September 18).

Warwick Davis, who was was born with spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita (SDC), an extremely rare form of dwarfism, visited Northlands Wood Primary Academy in Haywards Heath to see pupils, including Henry Ansell, aged 6, in a special assembly.

Henry Ansell, aged 6, also has dwarfism and his family are involved in Warwick Davis' charity, Little People UK.

Henry Ansell, aged 6, also has dwarfism and his family are involved in Warwick Davis' charity, Little People UK.

Henry, who is in year two, has achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism, and his parents Jayne and Stuart Ansell do fundraising work for Mr Davis' charity Little People UK.

Mr Davis said: "Sometimes in life, our condition is an advantage and sometimes it's a disadvantage.

"It's about adapting in life and finding your strengths and weaknesses."

He talked to the pupils about how he got into acting, and his experience growing up with dwarfism.

Warwick Davis hosted a special assembly at Northlands Wood Primary Academy.

Warwick Davis hosted a special assembly at Northlands Wood Primary Academy.

Mr Davis said how his parents are average height and he was made to do everything his friends did, including sports which was his least favourite thing in school.

He said: "My least favourite sport was hurdles, or as I called it, the limbo."

Mr Davis told pupils that he first started acting when his grandmother heard a cast call on the radio for Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in 1981, when he was 11 years old.

There was a question and answer session, where he revealed how hot it was in the ewok costume under the foam padding and fake fur and how he played eight characters in Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Warwick spoke about his dwarfism and acting career, including his start in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

Warwick spoke about his dwarfism and acting career, including his start in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

He showed clips from Star Wars, Willow (in which he plays the titular character) and Harry Potter, and taught the pupils, most of whom had seen Harry Potter, how to perform the spell 'wingardium leviosa' with a swish and flick.

He said: "I think Willow has parallels with my life, because it's all about self belief and overcoming adversity."

Mr Davis said his favourite film that he's been in is Return of the Jedi, because it started his career and he loved meeting the actors - even if he talked to them as if they were the characters.

He ended the assembly with some words of encouragement, saying: "Try to follow what you believe, and I sincerely think you will achieve your dreams."

Everyone, including Mr Davis himself, says not to meet your heroes, but pupils and teachers alike delighted in meeting him and talking to him in Henry's classroom afterwards, especially following the revelation that he will go the extra mile for fans, including missing trains to take photos when he's recognised.

Speaking afterwards to the Mid Sussex Times, he said: "Henry's parents run a lot of quiz nights and charity fundraisers, which is wonderful because a charity survives on donations.

"It's really important to raise awareness for the charity and dwarfism, so it's really good to have supportive members like Henry's parents.

"We still have a lot of work to do in the world, but a person with dwarfism is the same as anyone else.

"We still have the same hopes and dreams and fears as everyone else, and can achieve the same as them."