Car enthusiast works with David Walliams

Southbourne car enthusiast Darren Collins has spoken of his pleasure in driving comedian and author David Walliams to his London premiere.

Thursday, 23rd November 2017, 9:55 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 2:02 am
Darren Collins with David Walliams at the Richmond Theatre
Darren Collins with David Walliams at the Richmond Theatre

The Birmingham Stage Company adapted David’s book Awful Auntie for the stage, including a replica classic car.

Darren, technical manager at Simer Environmental Services in Waterlooville, provided the Rolls-Royce to copy and helped work on creating a replica based on a golf buggy.

He said: “I have been into cars the whole time and I just like sharing the joy they bring.

The model of Darren's Rolls-Royce

“We made a replica of my car, which I helped build, and then I drove David to the premiere in my old car.

“We had a right old chat. He is a proper car enthusiast.”

Darren, who worked on Nanny McPhee with Emma Thompson in 2010, was approached through the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club.

David began his publishing career at Harper Collins in 2008 with his debut novel The Boy in the Dress and has since written nine more books, plus five picture books.

Darren Collins driving David Walliams to the theatre. Picture: Jack Sain

The biggest selling children’s book of 2014, Awful Auntie was adapted for the stage following the record-breaking tour of Gangsta Granny.

Awful Auntie tells the story of Stella, who when she set off to visit London with her parents had no idea her life was in danger.

Waking up from a coma three months later, only her Aunt Alberta can tell Stella what has happened. But not everything Aunt Alberta tells her turns out to be true and Stella quickly discovers she is in for the fight of her life against her very own awful Auntie.

Having enjoyed sharing his love of cars, Darren rejected David’s offer to pay him as a thank you, asking for a charity donation instead. David gave £500 to Unicef and invited Darren to sit with him at the premiere at the Richmond Theatre earlier this month.

Darren helped build the model of his classic Rolls-Royce

Darren was recently involved with the Classic Rumble, which was supporting Harrison’s Fund, so he gifted the tickets to the boy the charity is named after, Harrison Smith, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy.