A DEDICATED champion of the silver screen in West Dorset has received special recognition.

The British Cinema and Television authority has given Alex Orme its veterans’ award, entitling him to a free admission pass to every cinema in the country on agreed dates.

The rare accolade marks Mr Orme’s 33 years of devoted service to the film industry.

The 83-year-old, who has lived in Bridport for the past 60 years, became manager of the Regent Cinema at Lyme Regis 30 years ago, a position he still holds despite the loss of the popular picture house in a devastating fire around 36 months ago.

Mr Orme said that plans to re-open the Regent still faced some issues, but he added: “We are certainly all hoping that we will return to build on the fine reputation of the cinema which has served the area since 1937.”

Mr Orme has a wide range of film preferences, but is particularly fond of those with a Dorset interest and musicals.

“I really enjoyed Tom Jones, which was shot in Dorset,” he said. “I did some administrative work for the film and I was also an extra.

“It has always been such a great pleasure to be involved in the cinema scene and I hope most sincerely to be active again in a reborn and thriving Regent.

“My time as manager of the Regent has been extremely rewarding and it has been particularly gratifying to have had a lot of young enthusiasts on work experience. All of them have gone on to do well in whatever job they have chosen.”

* The Regent, owned by Scott Cinemas, was gutted in a blaze in March 2016. The roof of the 1930s Art Deco Grade 11 listed cinema collapsed after being engulfed in flames but no-one was hurt.

Eight fire crews from three counties worked to prevent the flames spreading to adjoining buildings. At the height of the blaze thick black smoke rising from the site could be seen for miles.