Soap star gives his backing to Leeds disability centre

Colin McDonnell and James Hooten
Colin McDonnell and James Hooten
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AN emmerdale star has become the patron of a Leeds centre which helps disabled people to live independently.

James Hooten, who plays Sam Dingle, agreed to be a celebrity supporter of the William Merritt Disabled Living Centre in Armley.

He visited the centre, which provides equipment for people of all ages, and was given a guided tour by centre manager David Blythe, as well as meeting long-time service user Colin McDonnell.

James said: “My visit to the centre made me feel quite humbled and really proud that I can help in some small way.

“Whether disabled from birth or as a result of an injury, or an illness such as dementia or MS, the centre enables and inspires children, teenagers and adults to find equipment to enable them to do everyday things - and extraordinary things – that other people take for granted.”

The star said he was looking forward to going to a Some Like It Hot-themed Gala Ball organised to raise cash for the centre: “I’ve heard what has been planned, and it sounds amazing,” he added.

David Bransby, business fundraiser at the centre, said they were “delighted”.

“We are exceptionally proud to be associated with James and look forward to working with him on a number of projects in the years ahead,” he added.

The gala ball takes place on September 27 at New Dock Hall in Leeds. Buy tickets via or for a chance of winning a table, visit

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