Two local women have helped Northern Ireland’s leading extras agency celebrate 10 years as the lifeblood of the local film and TV industry.
The Extras Dept., formerly Extras NI, marked a decade of success by organising a blood drive at Belfast’s Crumlin Road Gaol.
Hillsborough woman Siobhan Hussey, who has worked as an extra on hit TV police drama Line of Duty, was among those who supported the tenth anniversary event.
The 60-year-old appeared in an online video encouraging people to give blood and also attended the event at Crumlin Road Gaol.
She explained how after the birth of her daughter in 1983 she suffered complications and had to undergo an emergency operation and was given five pints of blood.
“I have no idea who my unnamed heroes are,” Siobhan said. “I wish I did know because if I did know I could throw my arms around them and I could thank them. I could thank them for allowing me to watch that adorable baby girl grow up into the most beautiful, competent woman she now is. I’d love to just thank them for allowing me to cuddle, love and watch her baby boy grow up.”
Urging more people to become blood donors, she added: “Unnamed heroes are people who step up. They’re not people who say I don’t have time. What I would like you all to do is please is to step up and remember for a little bit of your time you will give somebody a lifetime.”
Also supporting the blood drive was Lisburn woman Edel Scanlon.
The 37-year-old, who is originally from Limerick, has been an extra in many productions over recent years including Game of Thrones, Line of Duty and The Fall.
Edel and Siobhan were among more than 200 extras who took part in the blood drive, organised in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service.
The Extras Dept. has over 17,000 registered extras, aged from two to 90, and from all walks of life, on its books. It has provided thousands of background artists to support national and international television and film productions.
Siobhan Allan, Co-Founder and Finance Director of The Extras Dept., explained why they wanted to mark the anniversary by encouraging blood donors.
“The Extras Dept. has been involved in providing extras and stand-ins for film and television productions for over 10 years and we wanted to give something back. So, to symbolise all the blood, sweat and tears that have not only gone into the last 10 years of building the company, but also to rebalance all the blood that has been spilled in the countless film and television programmes that we have provided extras for, we decided to partner with Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service to host a blood drive,” she said.
Thanking the Extras Dept. for their help with the blood drive, Emma Sloan, Marketing Officer for NI Blood Transfusion Service said: “We were delighted to have the support of The Extras Dept. during their anniversary celebrations. Each of their registered extras who donated have taken on the role of a life-saver and will help 500 patients here who need a transfusion each week. Giving blood is such an easy thing to do and, it has amazing results, it could be used to save the life of a child with leukaemia, a mother during child birth someone undergoing a routine operation or someone with cancer.”
For further information log on to www.nibts.org or www.theextrasdept.com