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Treat Trust Wales founder's true-life story could be heading for the big screen

A TRUE romance that could have been dreamt up by a Hollywood scriptwriter may now be heading for the silver screen.

 

Melanie Davies, founder of Swansea- based charity Treat Trust Wales, broke her back more than 30 years ago while she was a teenager growing up in Port Talbot.

The surgeon who had to give her the devastating news that she would never walk again was Mike Davies — who Melanie would go on to marry later in life.

It was just one chapter in a remarkable story that saw Melanie Bowen, as she was before marriage, survive a serious car crash and not just one but two encounters with breast cancer.

Her first bout with cancer inspired Melanie, now aged 48, to form Treat, which aspires to build an £18 million rehabilitation centre in the grounds of Morriston Hospital.

Treat has Paul Potts as president, with patrons including former president Michael Sheen, Rob Brydon, Kev Johns, paralympics legend Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and former rugby star Gwyn Jones.

Now another name has been added to the list of patrons — Bennett Arron, an award-winning writer, actor and stand-up comedian described as the only Jewish/Welsh comedian on the comedy circuit. He has supported Ricky Gervais on some of his tour dates, has been on numerous TV and radio shows and appeared in the film Dead Long Enough alongside Michael Sheen.

Bennett now has his sights set on making a film of Melanie's life after reading her best-selling autobiography, Never Say Die. "I knew Melanie in school," he recalled. "She had to leave Glan Afan after her accident and I saw her briefly a couple of times but we didn't really stay in contact.

"I met up with Mel recently when I was in Port Talbot for a mutual friend's funeral, the first time I'd seen her in 30 years.

"She gave me a copy of her book. I took it home and started reading it that night, finishing it three or four days later.

"I sent her a text saying I'd been looking for something to direct for years, and this was something I wanted to write and direct."

Bennett is now working on a proposal for the movie and then will start searching for a producer. "It would be lovely to shoot something in Wales," he said. "As a story it has everything — it has humour, it has tragedy, it has a love story. I think it would be a fantastic film."

Melanie, who lives with Mike near Pontardawe, said she was thrilled Bennett was on board as patron.

"When he told me he wanted to make a film of my life story I was stunned but elated," she said. "It was a dream of mine to see it turned into a film but I never really thought anyone would do it.

"If it happens it will really spread the Treat message."

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