Car enthusiast works with David Walliams

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

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.

“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.

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 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.