Barnsbury man launches anti-smoking film competition to keep wife’s memory alive

PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 July 2011

Deborah Hutton

Deborah Hutton


»A photographer launched a hugely successful anti-smoking film-making competition for teenagers in memory of his wife.

Teenage smoking facts

- According to Action on Smoking and Health UK, one in seven 15-year-olds regularly smoke

- Two out of every three smokers begin the habit before the age of 18.

- In 2009, total of 15 per cent of 15-year-olds smoked

- Every day about 450 young people reportedly start smoking

- Smoking still causes more than 80,000 deaths every year

- The annual cost to the NHS from smoking-related diseases is £2.7 billion

Charlie Stebbings, along with family and friends, set up The Deborah Hutton Campaign in Barnsbury Square, Barnsbury, which is named after his partner. It is the sixth anniversary of her death from lung cancer tomorrow.

Her loved ones created the charity and set up a contest called Cut Films which encouraged young people to produce short two-minute clips urging others not to have cigarettes.


Nearly 80 schools and youth groups took part and the productions were uploaded to YouTube, where they have gained 30,000 views.

Mr Stebbings, a resident in the borough for 25 years who now lives in Highbury Fields, said: “Through this film competition we are trying to address a particular problem by getting teenagers talking to each other in their own language about why not to smoke rather than grown ups talking to children.”

Mrs Hutton, a successful health journalist who worked 25 years for Vogue, only smoked between the age of 16 and 26 but it is believed to have caused her condition.

In her final seven months after being diagnosed in November 2004, Mrs Hutton continued writing articles about her illness and began campaigning to increase funding for research into lung cancer and to stop teenage girls from taking up the habit.

Mr Stebbings, a photography and film advertising director who runs Steam Media in Barnsbury Square, Barnsbury, said: “We wanted to do something in her name. She left one wish which was to do a little kindness in her name. She told me this shortly before she died.

“We wanted to continue her legacy persuading young people not to smoke.

He continued: “It was extraordinary that she found the strength to do so much in her final stages and still be a wonderful mother. She was a formidable person.”

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