A YOUNG actor from Bradford on Avon has won a top award for his portrayal of wartime evacuee William Beech in a production of Michelle Magorian’s wonderfully uplifting wartime tale, Goodnight Mr Tom.

Douglas Bessant, 12, won the T-Worx Productions Award for Best Youth Actor in an Adult Production at the annual Rose Bowl awards in Bristol on Sunday, October 21.

Douglas lives in Trowbridge Road, and is a pupil at St Laurence School. He played the role in The Bradfordians Dramatic Society’s production of David Wood’s stage adaptation, performed earlier this summer.

He has joined the Bradfordians alongside his father Marc Bessant, who designed the poster for the play with Douglas shown in silhouette, and has previously won his own Rose Bowl award.

Douglas said: “It was a massive surprise. I was away on a school trip in the Lake District and was unable to attend the awards ceremony.

“But I am very proud and pleased to have won. My parents and I were really excited and really surprised.”

Douglas fended off competition from three productions of the musical Oliver to win the award, presented on October 21. The other nominations were for an Oliver and two Artful Dodgers.

The presentation was made to the play’s director Cally Smart, who went to the awards ceremony at Bristol’s Mercure Grand Hotel.

Allan Schonfeld, who played the recluse Tom Oakley in The Bradfordians production, was nominated for Best Actor and the play was nominated for Best Play. Sadly the Bradfordians lost out in both categories.

Mr Bessent won the Rose Bowl award for the Best Actor in the South West for his portrayal of Hamlet in another Bradfordians production in 2015.

This was just a further success for The Bradfordians, who have picked up an impressive number of awards over the years for their highly polished productions.

Reviewing Goodnight Mr Tom, the Wiltshire Times said: “One has to praise the two excellent performances by Allan Schonfield as Tom Oakley and Douglas Bessant as William Beech.

“The relationship and bond between the old man and the young boy are central to the plot and both actors played their roles very believably and with great sensitivity.”