ONE of the stars of the remake of Swallows and Amazons introduced the film at its launch in a North-East theatre last night.

Hannah Jayne Thorp, 13, who plays the part of feisty Peggy Blackett, chatted to fans at the Empire Theatre in Consett, County Durham.

The youngster is originally from the former steel town, but now lives near Kendal, in the Lake District where the new version of the classic children’s adventure was shot.

Talented Hannah, who attends drama school in Cumbria, was plucked from obscurity to appear in the movie with Hollywood star Kelly Macdonald, who plays Mrs Walker.

She said: “It is strange, especially when I go out with friends into town and see my face on a big poster, but I have really enjoyed it.

“The best thing is the friends I have made. They are all so amazing and they are friends I will keep forever.

“I really want to carry on making more films and TV shows. My plan now is to get as many auditions as I can and hopefully be the best actress I can be.”

Last night Hannah did a meet and greet with fans and explained the process behind the production of the film.

The youngster was among more than 800 hopefuls to audition for the coveted child roles, with producer Nick Barton seeking ‘children to be as natural as possible’ at the workshops.

She had to learn to sail for the adventures with her on-screen sister Nancy, Seren Hawkes, aboard their black-painted Amazon sailboat, flying the Jolly Roger flag and battling it out with the Swallows, the Walker children.

The film, based on the book by Arthur Ransome, was shot on Derwentwater and Coniston Water, and the premiere of the film, was in Keswick, rather than Leicester Square last month.

Swallows and Amazons is playing at the Empire Theatre in Consett until Thursday and Geraint Lewis, co-chairman of the Arthur Ransome Trust, from Esh Winning, was also there last night.

Hannah moved to the Lake District with her mother, Jayne, when she was just five.

Mrs Thorp, who was a police officer in Consett, but now works in IT for the NHS, said the original Swallows and Amazons was the first film she ever saw in the cinema.

She said: “It is an amazing coincidence. Hannah has worked very hard on this film and it is lovely. I am really pleased it has come to the Empire.”