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Maureen Lipman looks forward to A Perfect Day

PUBLISHED: 12:58 10 September 2009 | UPDATED: 16:27 07 September 2010

Maureen Lipman

Maureen Lipman

Tan Parsons MAUREEN Lipman has stepped in to open the third annual Perfect Day Festival in Swiss Cottage on Sunday, and she is promising to keep an open mind. The actor and former Muswell Hill resident has agreed to fill the boots of Helena Bonham Carter,

Tan Parsons

MAUREEN Lipman has stepped in to open the third annual Perfect Day Festival in Swiss Cottage on Sunday, and she is promising to keep an open mind.

The actor and former Muswell Hill resident has agreed to fill the boots of Helena Bonham Carter, who was due to open the street festival but is unavailable because she is busy filming for the latest Harry Potter movie.

Ms Lipman will signal the start of the street festival in Avenue Road, which is raising cash for the Swiss Cottage Special School.

The festival will include a dazzling array of musical performances including the Ham&High Acoustic Music Showcase, plus a funfair, stalls and a classic car show.

Ms Lipman told the Ham&High: "It's not one of my normal charities but who can deny specialist schools are under-funded.

"Thank God I've got two healthy children - but if it had been otherwise I'd have been campaigning all the time for them to have a school where they wouldn't be bullied and where they would be nurtured in an environment that catered for learning difficulties.

"The national grants don't cover the school's needs and yet it has an outstanding rating. I suppose this will be like the Swiss Cottage version of the Notting Hill Carnival - it can only be fun."

Ms Lipman, whose daughter Amy Rosenthal was born in Avenue Road, confided that she is not normally a street festival sort of person, but that she was happy to be involved, especially since it was her good friend Kathy Lette that persuaded her to throw her hat into the ring.

"If there's a ribbon to be cut I will cut it, if words need saying I'll say them and if there are any Doctor Who fans who want me to sign an autograph I'll sign it," she said, referring to her appearance as a villain in the BBC television show in 2006.

At the mention that there may be a horse parade at some stage in the day she said she would be game for anything except galloping.

"If I'm required to walk along behind the horses shovelling up s*** I may object but otherwise I'm pretty open-minded."

Asked what her own 'perfect day' might involve, she said it would involve food, love and a really good movie.

She said: "If you live in Hampstead and you're near the Heath then you can't get much better than a walk through Kenwood onto the Heath and being with someone you love, whether that's your children, your dog or your lover and then wandering down to see a movie you really love but haven't seen for 30 years and hoping it's as good as you remember it being."

On Sunday at 12.30pm Avenue Road will become a pedestrian zone for the day for the Perfect Day Festival.

The Swiss Cottage Special School caters for 151 pupils aged between two and 16 and employs almost 100 staff plus teams of therapists, nurses and other visiting professionals. It is rated outstanding by Ofsted and is a leading example of best practice in special needs education.

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/aperfectday or email marshanlee@gmail.com.

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