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Lincoln's Ritz cinema project leader shortlisted for national recognition

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: December 24, 2012

  • Pete Genders, the chief executive of volunteer organisation Off The Bench, has been nominated as a finalist in the search for Britain’s Top Real Role Model

  • The Ritz pub in Lincoln's High Street

  • The auditorium which was Screen One.

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The man behind the project to revive Lincoln's Ritz cinema has been shortlisted in a campaign to find the country's best role model.

Budding entrepreneur Pete Genders, from Rope Walk, is the chief executive of volunteer organisation Off The Bench.

In January this year it was announced that Off The Bench was to reopen the cinema, which has laid dormant for more than 15 years, as part of a community project to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour in the area.

Mr Genders is now in the final six of the Britain's Top Real Role Model campaign. If he wins, he will receive a £10,000 cash prize for The Ritz project.

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On making the shortlist, Mr Genders said: "It is such an honour to have been considered for such a worthwhile and inspiring campaign.

"I am passionate about helping my local community and supporting the future of youth entrepreneurship and employment. What an incredible opportunity."

The campaign to find the country's best role model is being run by global direct selling company Amway UK.

Sheryl Franklin-Worth, Amway's corporate affairs manager, said: "All of those shortlisted are making a positive difference within their community by encouraging and supporting enterprise, and any one of them will make a worthy winner."

The Ritz cinema, in Lincoln's High Street, originally opened in 1937 and was a hub for entertainment in the city. It closed down in 1996 and was opened as a Wetherspoons pub two years later, but that only occupies the stalls and foyer area.

As well as showing classic films, the cinema will also show the latest Hollywood blockbusters. It will also show foreign films and host special themed nights for big movie franchises.

Off The Bench launched the project after looking for a way to bridge the migrant community and local community in the city's Park ward.

"We started the discussion about a community venue and we all fondly remembered The Ritz as a cinema and recounted how many hours of our childhoods were spent in the cinema itself," explained Mr Genders.

"We then discovered that although JD Wetherspoons had opened a public house downstairs, the upper floors remained empty and in various levels of decay.

"An idea to bring the cinema back to life was formed."

The winner of the competition will be announced on February 11.

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  • IT_MAN  |  December 25 2012, 4:38PM

    Hang onto the name RITZ as I noticed in news a bit back that RITZ in London is chalenging a small hotel in Desborough, Northamptonshire because it has been called the RITZ for many years. I hope the RITZ in London lose the right to claim the name, after all I also read the RITZ in London does not pay British corporation tax. Good luck with your project.

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  • Localperson55  |  December 24 2012, 5:16PM

    .....I wish the group well with the project but it would be nice to know what exactly is going on with The Ritz

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  • Localperson55  |  December 24 2012, 5:00PM

    A strange article that you would have thought should have detailed the progress of the restoration to date. The website for 'off the bench' has a short video featuring Mr Genders saying he hoped the Ritz would be re-opened as a cinema at the end of 2012. On the same web site there is a blog entry from Mr Genders dated 17th December talking about a small book being published detailing the plans and hopes for the project. There would appear to have been little if any physical progress and the whole venture would appear to have been far more difficult than initially envisaged.

    Rate   7
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  • Fishooo  |  December 24 2012, 4:15PM

    Hummm I thought that was odd as well

    Rate   3
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  • newsreaderjoy  |  December 24 2012, 2:29PM

    How can someone get an award for something that hasn't happened? the cinema isn't open.

    Rate   4
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  • nolies  |  December 24 2012, 2:02PM

    I thought this scheme had gone down the drain,at least I havn't heard of it actually opening ???

    Rate   5
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