|Alma mater||Honorary graduate of Keele University|
|Television||BBC biographical film Marvellous (2014)|
|Parent(s)||Harry and Mary Baldwin|
Neil Baldwin BEM (born 15 March 1946)is an honorary graduate of Keele University from Westlands in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, England. He is a registered clown and also worked for Stoke City Football Club, for whom he once played briefly in a friendly match. He is the subject of an award-winning BBC television drama, Marvellous , which was broadcast in 2014.
Born to Harry and Mary Baldwinon 15 March 1946, he was diagnosed with a learning disability as a child and required speech therapy. Baldwin left school at age 16 to join Sir Robert Fossett's Circus, the oldest circus in England, for whom he performed as "Nello the Clown" for three seasons. He lived with his mother until a few years before she died in 2003. He is known to be acquainted with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the footballer Gary Lineker and Prince Edward.
Since 1960, unasked and unpaid, Baldwin has visited Keele University, where his mother worked as a cleaner, to greet new students.A testimonial football match, on 12 March 2000, featured his own team of Keele University students (the Neil Baldwin Football Club, formed in 1967, whose president was Kevin Keegan) against an all-star side of former Football League players including Lou Macari, Asa Hartford and Gordon Cowans.
He was granted honorary life membership of Keele University Students' Union in 1968.The proposal received unanimous support. His fiftieth year there was marked with a two-day celebration, including a service of thanksgiving presided over by the Bishop of Lichfield, Keele alumnus Jonathan Gledhill, and a further testimonial match. He was also awarded honorary alumni-hood.
In 2013 Baldwin received the honorary degree of Master of the University from Keele University, which said that he
has been adopted by the student body over the last 50 years as something of a mascot for Keele... He has watched, supported and kept in touch with successive cohorts of Keele students building an impressive network of alumni contacts both national and internationally. He serves the students offering advice and support to students, remaining steadfastly proud and loyal to Keele. In doing so, he has openly defended Keele and voiced his concerns about any issue that has or would affect Keele to his numerous contacts within parliament, the various leaders of Christian denomination churches, volunteer organisations and business leaders across the country, of whom he regularly visits.
In 2016, Stoke City FC and Keele University combined to celebrate Neil Baldwin's 70th birthday at Keele Hall. Guests included friends and family, professional footballers and football administrators, members of the clergy, professional actors and screenwriters, impresarios of the circus, Keele University professors, students and graduates, local dignitaries, singers from the Neil Baldwin Choir, three Cambridge University Boat Club rowers, and members of the Neil Baldwin Football Club. The highlight was a birthday greeting by video-link from Sir Alex Ferguson. Vice-Chancellor Professor Trevor McMillan remarked that "Only Neil could bring together people from such diverse walks of life to celebrate his birthday".
In the 1990s Baldwin was appointed as Stoke City Football Club kit-man by then manager Lou Macariwho has described him as "the best signing I ever made", as his humour was so good for team morale. In 1993, Macari played him as a substitute for Stoke City, against Aston Villa, in the final five minutes of a testimonial match for Gordon Cowans. Macari later wrote seven pages about Baldwin in his 2009 autobiography, Football, My Life, and said that he is a "man without an angle and there aren’t many of them in football". In May 2015 Baldwin was awarded "Supporter of the year" by Stoke City FC.
Baldwin is the subject of and also appeared as himself in Marvellous , an acclaimed 2014 biographical film in which he is played by Toby Jones who was praised by The Guardian for his "lovely, very human, performance".It was first broadcast on BBC Two and BBC Two HD on 25 September 2014. Reviewing the programme for the Stoke Sentinel , John Woodhouse said:
It says everything for Neil that Marvellous was ever made. For in times when TV is seduced by vacuity and celebrity, it doesn't sound that promising a pitch. A drama, set in Newcastle [under-Lyme], about a man saddled with the tag of "learning difficulties" who reveals himself to be so much more? Good luck with that one. And yet here it is – primetime BBC2.
The film received the 2015 BAFTA for "best single drama", and Gemma Jones received the British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Baldwin's mother.Toby Jones was nominated for the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor for his performance. Baldwin collected the drama award, during the ceremony at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane, and made an acceptance speech.
Baldwin's autobiography, Marvellous: Neil Baldwin – My Story, written with the help of Keele University alumni Malcolm Clarke and Francis Beckett, was published in hardback by John Blake in August 2015.
On 21 May 2015 Baldwin was presented with the Freedom of Stoke-on-Trentand on 26 November 2015 was awarded the freedom of Newcastle-under-Lyme. In October 2015, he featured in an episode of the BBC television programme Songs of Praise .
Baldwin was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the 2019 New Year Honours "For services to the community in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire".
Stoke-on-Trent is a city and unitary authority area in Staffordshire, England, with an area of 36 square miles (93 km2). In 2019, the city had an estimated population of 256,375. It is the largest settlement in Staffordshire.
Stoke City Football Club is an English professional football club based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. Founded as Stoke Ramblers in 1863, the club changed its name to Stoke Football Club in 1878 and then to Stoke City in 1925 after Stoke-on-Trent was granted city status. Stoke were one of the twelve founding members of the Football League in 1888. The team competes in the Championship, the second tier of English football.
Newcastle-under-Lyme is a market town in Staffordshire, England. At the 2011 census it had a population of 75,082. It is part of the borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme, which had a population of 128,264 in 2016, up from 123,800 in the 2011 Census.
Keele University, officially known as the University of Keele, is a public research university in Keele, approximately 3 miles from Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, England. Keele was granted university status by Royal Charter in 1962 and was founded in 1949 as the University College of North Staffordshire.
The Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme is a local government district with borough status in Staffordshire, England.
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Marvellous is a British drama television film that was first broadcast on BBC Two on 25 September 2014. The 90-minute film, directed by Julian Farino and written by Peter Bowker, is about the life of Neil Baldwin, from Westlands, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.
Neil Baldwin may refer to:
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