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Winners of BAFTA competition revealed after Bury St Edmunds cinema legend is one of nine finalists

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The winners of a BAFTA competition, where a Bury St Edmunds cinema legend was nominated, have today been revealed.

Pat Church, 72, was one of the 300 nominees for the annual 'For the Love of Film' competition.

Pat has worked at the Abbeygate Cinema for over 50 years and helped save the venue after its closure was threatened.

Pat Church was a finalist in the BAFTA 'For The Love of Film' competition. Picture by Mark Westley.
Pat Church was a finalist in the BAFTA 'For The Love of Film' competition. Picture by Mark Westley.

After being narrowed down to the last nine finalists it was today revealed Pat did not win the competition which will see the winners, from Liverpool and Brighton, enjoy a once in a lifetime BAFTA experience and attend the EE British Academy Film Awards on Sunday, February 2.

Following the announcement, Pat said: "I am a little disappointed. There was hundreds of well-wishers and patrons that have spoken to me since I was nominated.

"To me being nominated was a complete surprise. The public response was so overwhelming you had to experience it to see and understand it. Following that things moved forward from then. According to BAFTA there were 300 finalists. Bury St Edmunds got down to the last nine - that was quite an achievement, it put the Abbeygate into the limelight, to me that was the main objective of it all.

"Looking forward on the positive side of all this, and I am a glass half full person, this alone event has brought many new faces to the Abbeygate Cinema and we now concentrate our efforts on our fund raising activities to bring the regeneration of the Abbeygate to fruition with the introduction of two extra screens, I would just like to thank everyone who was involved with this on my behalf."

Pat joined the cinema in Hatter Street as a projectionist in the 1960s aged just 19.

He has seen the venue through 12 different owners and four near-closures.

After the first threat of closure in 1975, Pat refused to back down. He produced a business plan convincing the owners to give the cinema one more chance and was promoted to manager.

It was revealed Janet Dunn and Martin Fol from Liverpool's Plaza Cinema and Lizzie Banks producer of the Oska Bright Film Festival won the competition. The prize will also include a dinner and overnight stay at The Savoy Hotel, hair and makeup appointments and a chauffer driven Audi for the day.

Read more: Bury St Edmunds legend finalist in BAFTA competition