Fundraising and Charity

Beginning with caring for the returning wounded from the First World War and ending at a special school for disabled children in the early 1990s, these films exemplify how the charitable response to disability was the predominant one for many disabled people.

The great and the good, notably Royals and film stars, are marshalled to capture the audience’s attention and solicit donations to help good causes. Two things are less prominent, though - the voices of those disabled people who (with some revealing exceptions), are cast as passive and grateful receivers of charity; and the idea that disabled people can live an independent and useful life as citizens outside of institutions.

Graham Findlay (disability equality consultant)

Please note: titles in this collection may contain language or other content that reflect views prevalent in their time but that may cause offence today. They are included here for historical reasons and are in no way endorsed by the BFI or its partners.

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Zero HourZero Hour

Charity appeal19288 minsSilent

"In the kingdom of the blind, the St Dunstan's man is king": how blinded WWI soldiers set up their own businesses.

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Disabled FundraiserDisabled Fundraiser

News19744 mins Location: Tamworth

Disabled ex-miner Derek Sewell lets his chair do the talking in his quest to help people with mobility issues.

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Lest We ForgetLest We Forget

Charity appeal19378 minsSilent Location: Andover

Charles Laughton stars in this appeal film for Enham Village Centre, where WWI servicemen with disabilities are cared for.

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Lanlivery Special SchoolLanlivery Special School

Current affairs19762 minsSilent Location: Lanlivery

Special School receives a special visit.

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East End Cripples Enjoy a Happy Days Outing in Epping ForestEast End Cripples Enjoy a Happy Days Outing in Epping Forest

Non-Fiction19112 minsSilent Location: Epping Forest

Disabled East End ‘ragged’ children go on a trip to the country - but not everyone seems happy

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It's Like Getting WingsIt's Like Getting Wings

Promotional197013 mins

Thanks to the Winged Fellowship Trust disabled guests at Crabhill House enjoy a fortnight’s holiday that can make a real difference

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Another World by Sean ConneryAnother World by Sean Connery

Charity appeal19624 mins

In the same year as James Bond made him famous, Sean Connery puts in an awkward plea to help blind people live an independent life.

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A Hidden WorldA Hidden World

197723 mins

Leonard Cheshire on disability – directed by David Lean.

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Chance EncounterChance Encounter

Campaigning film197817 mins

A brief encounter between film director David Lean and Leonard Cheshire, who speaks about his work in India for disabled people

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A Lead in the Right DirectionA Lead in the Right Direction

Charity appeal19655 mins Location: Southport

A charity appeal film promoting guide dogs comparing the daily lives of blind people with and without them.

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Behind the Scenes at the Boys' and Girls' Refuges (Estd. 1870)Behind the Scenes at the Boys' and Girls' Refuges (Estd. 1870)

Charity appeal19374 minsSilent Location: Old Colwyn

A look at an organisation providing care and support to children in need in the interwar years.

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Children's195410 mins

Four children spend the day roaming London and looking for birthday presents for their younger brother, who has polio.

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Shuttered WindowsShuttered Windows

Charity appeal19348 mins Location: Southport

Windows of opportunity: how a charity aimed to improve the lives of blind and partially sighted people.

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Not Forgotten - Homes for Disabled MenNot Forgotten - Homes for Disabled Men

Non-Fiction19281 minsSilent Location: Richmond

Countess Haig, beaming, opens a block of flats for disabled ex-service employees at the Poppy Factory in Richmond.

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The Disabled and WorkThe Disabled and Work

Documentary198132 mins Location: Middlesbrough

A film which shows the desire and dedication of those with disability to become integrated into the world of work.

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Duke of Gloucester opens new unit for mentally ill in PeterboroughDuke of Gloucester opens new unit for mentally ill in Peterborough

News19773 mins Location: Peterborough

Peterborough's new live-in facility for learning-disabled patients offers woodwork and pottery as therapy.

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Frank visits a School for Disabled ChildrenFrank visits a School for Disabled Children

Amateur film19904 minsSilent Location: Cheadle

Timperley's most famous resident, and his sidekick, are school visitors with a difference.

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Day Out and FeteDay Out and Fete

Amateur film196410 minsSilent Location: Rivoulich

Assorted entertainments in Lancashire - a brass band, Scottish reels, and a chance to meet the great Stan Ogden.

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Broken in the WarsBroken in the Wars

Public Information Filler19188 minsSilent

Film pioneer Cecil Hepworth raises awareness of a royal fund to support servicemen wounded in WWI

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They Gave So MuchThey Gave So Much

Promotional195717 mins Location: Southsea

This poignant film shows how the BLESMA charity provides comfort, care and rehabilitation for limbless ex-servicemen at their Southsea home

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Give The Girls a LiftGive The Girls a Lift

Amateur film194613 mins Location: Winchmore Hill

Try your luck on the Tombola and help raise money to buy a lift for Halliwick School's disabled girls

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Holding HandsHolding Hands

Documentary196620 mins Location: Marlow

Red Cross and Respite – disabled children and Red Cross cadets help each other at a day centre in the 1960s.

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Muscular Dystrophy Fundraiser in PlymouthMuscular Dystrophy Fundraiser in Plymouth

Current affairs19783 mins Location: Leigham

A local fundraising group supports neighbours with disabled sons.

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Activities at the Sir Robert Jones Memorial Workshop for Cripples - LiverpoolActivities at the Sir Robert Jones Memorial Workshop for Cripples - Liverpool

Charity appeal193626 minsSilent Location: Liverpool

Bookbinding and a bagatelle: training for disabled people in the interwar years.

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Susan Goes to SomptingSusan Goes to Sompting

196113 mins Location: Folkestone

Veteran tennis commentator Peter West takes us on a journey around a boarding school for disabled children.

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Lady AllenLady Allen

Government sponsored film197114 mins Location: Chelsea

Engrossing 1970s TV profile of Lady Allen of Hurtwood - passionate campaigner for every child's right to play

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Forward from ForfarForward from Forfar

Charity appeal196515 mins Location: Forfar

The Great and the Good meet the Guide Dogs.

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Leicester Guild of the Crippled: Some Events of 1930Leicester Guild of the Crippled: Some Events of 1930

Amateur film193014 minsSilent Location: Welby Grange

Caring for disabled people 1930s style: The Leicester Guild of the Crippled take to the road with spinal carriages and bath chairs.

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Maybe TodayMaybe Today

Documentary197312 mins Location: Liss

Life at Le Court Cheshire Home, near Petersfield, Hants

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Cry of the Crippled ChildrenCry of the Crippled Children

Charity appeal192112 minsSilent

Johnny Be Good... a silent docudrama about curing disabled children, set in 1920s London

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Stars Organisation for SpasticsStars Organisation for Spastics

News19746 mins Location: Wakes Colne

Screen favourites Michele Dotrice, Sylvia Syms, and Gerald Flood speak to Anglia TV about the charity 'Stars Organisation for Spastics'.

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Victory over DarknessVictory over Darkness

Documentary19425 mins

The wartime work of St Dunstan’s Home for the Blind, elegantly and effectively told.

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Three DaysThree Days

Charity appeal19486 minsSilent

Captain Scott goes snowblind: actor John Mills relates his experience of temporary blindness while making Scott of the Antarctic