J M Barrie’s legacy to the nation’s sick children is to receive a fresh boost from the latest edition of the Angus author’s most famous fairytale.
Actress Joanna Lumley has led a host of stars in the recording of the Kirriemuir-born playwright’s timeless tale, Peter Pan, for a new audio edition being launched this month.
Part of the profits from sales of the audio book will go to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, continuing Barrie’s legacy to the hospital he gifted the rights to Peter Pan to in 1929.
Barrie aficionado Lumley has been joined by an all-star stage and screen cast including Kit Harington, Alex Jennings, Alex Kingston, Helen McCrory, Jennifer Saunders, Juliet Stevenson, David Walliams and Zoe Wanamaker for the project.
The story has been abridged by Martin Jarvis, who also reads, and introduced by renowned children’s author, Sir Michael Morpurgo.
Ms Lumley said: “He haunts us all: Peter Pan has never grown up and has never let us forget him.
“His shadow found in a drawer by Tinker Bell trails round the corners of our eyes.
“As I now know, like a grown-up Wendy, that most of our lives are lived in our minds, this strange, thrilling, charming and unsettling work beckons children and adults alike into the world of make-believe, without which our lives would be intolerable.
“A host of stars has gathered to read the story aloud; their gift to the charity is a gift to us all.”
Originally written as a play, the much-loved story of the boy who could fly and his pirate adventures in Neverland with the Lost Boys and the Darling children, was first published as a novel, Peter & Wendy, in 1911.
The book has gone on to sell over 85 million copies in 29 different languages, as well as being made into 13 films.
Part of the proceeds will also go to Moat Brae House in Dumfries, where Barrie spent five years of childhood following his birth at the whitewashed house in Kirrie’s Brechin Road which is now run as a National Trust for Scotland attraction.
Barrie said the Dumfries house was part of the inspiration for the Neverland adventures.
Following a ten-year restoration project, Moat Brae opened in June 2019 as a new visitor attraction and a National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling to inspire reading, play and imagination.