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Yorkshire Post

Stars' date with a legend

Hollywood stars Sean Bean and Brian Blessed after unveiling a bronze statue of Robin Hood at the airport near Doncaster named in his honour.
Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield, which was opened almost two years ago, arguably now provides the biggest connection between the historical figure – more usually associated with Nottingham – and South Yorkshire.

The two unmistakable South Yorkshire personalities – Blessed, from the Dearne Valley, and Bean, who grew up in Sheffield – were called in to perform the unveiling ceremony at the airport on the site of the old RAF Finningley base.

It remains Britain's newest international airport and is the fastest growing in the country.

Picture: Chris Lawton

Sheffield Today

Our Sean is a real life Robin Hood

A RENEGADE gang let down by the law… out to right wrongs and gaining notoriety as public folk heroes.
It's the synopsis for Sean Bean's new movie in charge of a vigilante gang, called Outlaw.
But it could be the storyline for a remake of Robin Hood - the part South Yorkshire's own Hollywood A-lister wants to play next.
Sheffield son Sean, aged 47, exclusively revealed his dream role when he joined Mexborough-born Brian Blessed, 70, to unveil a new giant bronze statue of the legendary outlaw at Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield.
And he played the role for real when he exclusively told The Star he is taking from the rich to give to the poor - by donating his £15,000 appearance fee to help transform old recreation fields into a community park in the Sheffield suburb where he grew up, Handsworth.
The Sharpe and Lord of The Rings star has already helped to attract £400,000 of investment for the Handsworth Community Forum project.
It will build a multi-sports area, including football pitches and a bowling green, a kids' play area, a teenage youth zone, a bicycle track and woodland in Sheffield.
"It's great to be involved at the airport. But I'm also giving my fee to buy new trees for the project in Handsworth. I'm keen to help the wildlife and environment. It's a great project," said Sean, whose fee was met by the airport and Yorkshire Forward.
The all-action movie star revealed: "I'd love to play Robin Hood on the big screen. It's 16 years since Kevin Costner did it. Now it's my time.
"And we all know Robin Hood was definitely a Yorkshireman, who was chased into Nottingham. They say he could be from Loxley in Sheffield - that's near where I come from."
He laughed: "In fact, Robin Hood is possibly my great, great, great, great grandfather!"
Sean Bean's £15,000 donation came as a shock to delighted Handsworth Community Forum director and pal Michael Brocklebank, who told The Star: "We already knew how much Sean cares about Handsworth. He's already done a lot for us. But this again shows what kind of a man he is."
Brian Blessed, who played Robin Hood's dad in the Kevin Costner blockbuster Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and took part in the statue unveiling for free, joked: "The reason we were both invited is Sean is very talented - but I have the sex appeal.
"I was born just eight miles away in Mexborough and lived in Goldthorpe.
"My dad died about a year ago - he was the oldest surviving coal miner, he was 99 - and he was thrilled to bits with this airport. It's marvellous the way it's revitalised the area. People were out of work and this is helping.
"During my national service in the RAF, in 1958, I did a parachute jump here. It's called Robin Hood Airport, but we called it the rhubarb airport, because it was all rhubarb fields here.
"In the First World War bi-planes fighting the Germans flew from here. Then later the Vulcan bombers came. Now it's Robin Hood Airport - but they couldn't call it Friar Tuck. Robin Hood is a great name for a great airport.
"This is great for South Yorkshire and the region in general. I'm very proud to be part of this."
Neil Pakey, Chief Executive of Peel Airports, said: "The origins of Robin Hood have been resear-ched by historian David Green-wood, he unearthed original manuscripts and established this is where the story took place.
"We're the closest airport by 10 miles to the Great Oak in Sherwood Forest. David's work has been published - but when that short version is turned into a full length version, who knows, that could be published and one of our Hollywood friends could turn it into film about the real Robin Hood."
Airport managing director David Ryall added: "We're not yet two years old but we've seen 1.7 million passengers pass through the airport, which is unprecedented for a new start-up business.
"It's truly a transformational project, and 85 per cent of people working here are from South Yorkshire."

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