Ken Bellringer was injured by an IED blast in Afghanistan in 2009. He spoke to British acting legend Ray Winstone.
What did you think of The Resilience Sessions podcast concept? The idea is brilliant. I believe it came from something Si Harmer had said when thinking about his time in hospital. He said the demons would come out at night, and you could end up thinking about your injuries, your life and your future. That struck a chord with me. Si said he needed something to listen to at that time, and this project came about to address that.
What was it like speaking to such a huge box office star as Ray? Fantastic! I’ve met Ray before – he came to Selly Oak when I was injured, so it was quite relaxed. We chatted about all sorts. We got on so well that we were interviewing each other – we behaved like naughty boys! But things got quite serious, too… Ray has this hardman persona, and he was a very successful amateur boxer. He told me that sometimes people avoid him on a film set because they think he’s grumpy! But he isn’t. He’s a nice, down-to-earth man. The hard outer shell is how he made his career, but I got Ray talking about when his mum died, and how it affected him.
Opening up about things is the central message to the podcasts, then? Yes. You think; ‘Hang on, this is Ray Winstone pouring his heart out here.’ Hopefully, it will get people to realise that if Ray can do it, so can they. It’s all about getting people to talk. Hopefully, that will help them through life, and in some cases, it might actually save their life.