A FILM is being produced to celebrate a forgotten Irish hero – who lived in Haslingden.

‘Chasing Michael Davitt’ will be a look at the life of the 19th century campaigner and journalist who had a heavy influence in shaping Ireland.

The film is being made by Irishman Donal Maguire, who now also lives in Haslingden.

Mr Maguire, an Irish folk singer and songwriter, who owns Rossendale Records, said: “I was approached in 2005, the year before the centenary of Davitt’s death, about whether I was doing anything for the centenary.

“That prompted me to research songs about him and I found six or seven, along with a few pertinent Irish folk songs, and I made an album. I put it together as a musically illustrated lecture and toured Ireland and the UK with it.”

The film is a feature-length documentary, with some talking heads and a lot of Irish music, which it is hoped will be shown at cinemas.

Mr Maguire has also organised an Irish folk concert at the Irish World Heritage Centre as part of the Manchester Irish Festival which will be recorded for use in the film.

It takes place on Friday, March 2, and will feature Clitheroe Uilleann piper Steve Johnston.

Mr Maguire said: “It’s me and filmmaker Paul Lydiate who are doing it. He’s the technical buff and I’m doing the interviews.

“We have lots of footage from Mayo and Dublin, and of course Haslingden.

“We are about three quarters of the way through it now, but funding is a significant issue. We need to raise about £10,000 more.”

Donal’s journey is similar to that of Michael Davitt, hence the name of the film. He moved to England when his father couldn’t get work. His London home was across the road from Davitt’s home when he was an MP living in Battersea.

He has lived in Haslingden now for 36 years.

For information on the film, and to donate, visit www.chasingmichaelfilms.com