A South Yorkshire schoolboy with dwarfism has become a giant among his classmates – after persuading Hollywood actor Warwick Davis to pay a visit to their school.
Tyler Botwood, who has dwarfism caused by a rare genetic condition, first met Warwick last year at a convention organised by the Little People UK charity of which the actor is a patron.
The brave 10-year-old, who has the same condition as Warwick, soon became friends with the Star Wars actor, and has travelled to see him act in pantomimes and other productions.
And, yesterday, Warwick returned the favour – by visiting Tyler and his classmates at Highwoods Primary School in Mexborough between Rotherham and Doncaster. Warwick, aged 44, said he wanted to share information with the youngsters about the condition he and Tyler have – spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita.
The Celebrity Squares presenter told The Star: “It really helps the other students to understand what it’s like to be a little person.
“It helps them to understand that, just because someone looks physically different, it doesn’t mean that they are different. And that they have got the same feelings, desires and aspirations as everyone else.”
Children at the school were completely captivated as Warwick, who has acted in blockbuster films including the Harry Potter series, Willow, and the Chronicles of Narnia, gave a 45-minute talk on the physical obstacles he had to overcome at school and throughout his life.
His speech covered highs such as being cast as Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi when he was just 11, and appearing on Doctor Who – his favourite television show from childhood. The lucky youngsters also got to ask Warwick questions about his career, which has spanned over 30 years and around 40 films.
“A lot of people want to be famous,” Warwick said, “but don’t understand that it should be a by-product of succeeding at something such as acting.
“I want to show the kids that it’s important to keep studying at school, and trying to fulfil their dreams.”
Tyler’s mum, Claire Fletcher, of Elm Road, Mexborough, said Warwick’s visit had been ‘amazing’.
“Tyler was so excited about him coming, and I think he’s been even better than we thought he would be,” the 32-year-old said.