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Sutton Valence pupil on television


Despite being born with a life-changing disease, one Sevenoaks youngster is making quite a name for himself in the world of television.

Oli Dillon, age 14, who goes to Sutton Valence School near Maidstone, was first spotted by an agent in a production of Guys and Doll at the age of 7, playing Big Julie. Things moved quickly and before the family knew it, Oli had a contract to do the voice-over for Lumpy the Heffalump in My Friends Tigger and Pooh.

Oli has cystic fibrosis, which has many debilitating and limiting effects and potentially can affect the voice. His parents, Alison and Richard, were not sure if this and the inevitable long hours away filming would affect the school he would be able to attend. But, the family are absolutely delighted that they chose to send Oli to Sutton Valence. Although he's struggled a bit health-wise, he has really settled in well and made some great friends. All the teachers we have had dealings with have gone out of their way to make sure Oli is able to cope with the demands of keeping up with his school and acting work and the various hospital visits. says Mrs Dillon.

Following Lumpy,then a period as the voice of Nok Tok in the CBeebies series Waybuloo and three series voicing Huffy the Elephant for Raa Raa the Noisy Lion, Oli also did a little bit of television, including an episode of My Family. Then in 2011 he got the opportunity to be in an episode of The Sparticle Mystery. Such was his success that he was invited back to the popular BBC childrens programme, to play Fizzy in the next series.

Throughout 2012, Oli juggled rehearsals and school work. Miss Julie Manning, his house tutor, says Oli is a delightful and diligent pupil. He has already decided the he wants to be an actor, or a Drama teacher. The School has been able to tailor his curriculum to let him study the appropriate subjects and accommodate his illness.

Finally, in February this year the second series of The Sparticle Mystery was shown. My friends thought it was a bit weird seeing me on the television, says Oli, but they are used to it now and really like the programme. Some days I am not very well, but I am very lucky to be doing something I love and hope I can continue when I leave school.

Published: March 11 2013

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