London Road residents give film thumbs-up as it debuts on the big screen in Ipswich

Ipswich Film Theatre (Corn Exchange) hosting the first screening of London Road

Ipswich Film Theatre (Corn Exchange) hosting the first screening of London Road - Credit: Gregg Brown

Members of a community that managed to rebuild itself after seeing a neighbour convicted of five notorious murders now believe it is going from strength to strength.

London Road Musical

London Road Musical - Credit: Gregg Brown

Residents of London Road, forever linked with the sex worker killings by Steve Wright in 2006, were speaking as a film of their experiences debuted on the big screen.

The Corn Exchange in Ipswich last night held a special preview of the film, simply entitled London Road, which focuses on those who regenerated the street following Wright’s arrest and sentencing, ahead of the premiere in London tomorrow.

It is based on the musical of the same name, which was first performed at the National Theatre in the capital in 2011.

Script writer Alecky Blythe and composer Adam Cork were present as Ipswich residents, and the mayor of Ipswich Glen Chisholm took an exclusive look at the film.

Ipswich Film Theatre (Corn Exchange) will be hosting the first screening of London Road. The officia

Ipswich Film Theatre (Corn Exchange) will be hosting the first screening of London Road. The official premiere takes place in London on the following day so Ipswich residents will be the first people to see the film. Based on the critically acclaimed National Theatre stage show, London Road is the first verbatim musical. - Credit: Gregg Brown

But an even more exclusive preview was hosted by Julie Hyland, events secretary for the London Road Community Neighbourhood Watch group, with residents watching a DVD of the film at her home.

Mrs Hyland said: “I was really impressed with it – it covered it all. It portrayed the girls in a really good light. It was quite emotional. Hearing our voices and our thoughts is very, very emotional.”

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Mrs Hyland, who has lived in the road for 23 years, said: “I’m so pleased something good has come from something so terrible.

“Not only did it affect the girls, it affected us as a community.

“I know, from everyone in the group, we are proud to live here. It’s brought us together. Before 2006 I wouldn’t talk to anyone.

“I want people to know it’s taking something really terrible and got something good from it.

“It’s all true. Nothing added, nothing taken away.”

Some of the ways the community has brought itself closer together include local quiz nights and running a London Road in Bloom flower competition.

The group’s chairman Ron Alder, who has lived in the road for 12 years, saw the film with Mrs Hyland.

He said: “The film itself is pretty good. It is faithful to what we’re trying to do.

“So many people that are anti it don’t know what it’s about – it’s certainly not about celebrating the five deaths.

“People have to have lived here before the murders to appreciate the changes.”

Mr Alder said the film also brought back a lot of things to him, including the words of his wife, Rosemary, who died three years ago.

Ms Blythe, who wrote the script for both stage show and movie, said: “It’s about the Neighbourhood Watch and what they have done.

“We felt we were trying to show our appreciation to the people of Ipswich, who shared their story and we’re sharing it back with them.”