Lee Halpin obituary: Newcastle film-maker and magazine editor

 

Lee Halpin was a young writer and film-maker who, at the time of his death, had been seeking to make a documentary about homelessness on the streets of Newcastle, writes Marcus Williamson. For this project he had said that he intended to “immerse myself in that lifestyle as deeply as I can.” He planned to “sleep rough for a week, scrounge for my food, access the services that other homeless individuals use…”

The resulting documentary, titled Stepping Outside, would also have been used as part of an application for an intern job at Channel 4's Dispatches. His personal video statement for the role included the lines, "I hope that you perceive this to be a fearless approach to a story. It certainly feels brave from where I'm sat right now."

He was born in 1986. His love of words came from his father, the poet Aidan Halpin, and his empathy for others was already evident from the age of eight, when he helped a young friend who was less fortunate. Halpin recalled, "He came from a particularly dysfunctional family and we tried to create little fictional worlds of tranquility to escape into, whilst his parents created a very real world of calamity."

Halpin read English Literature at Leeds Metropolitan University and graduated with honours in June 2009. Continuing on to a Masters in creative writing at Newcastle University, he was awarded an MA in December of the following year.

Halpin then worked as a presenter on Radio Tyneside's show The Weekend Starts Here and was the founding editor of Novel. Through this regional arts magazine, which had published five editions, he had already helped 100 local writers to get into print.

On 31 March he asked friends if anyone had a sleeping bag that he could borrow. Several responded and he set out to begin his week-long immersive project.

Three days later, he was found dead in a derelict hostel on Westgate Road in the West End of Newcastle. His friend Daniel Lake said, "Lee was a great guy, a character and was well known. His big things were creative writing and poetry… No one knows how he passed away, but we think it could have been hypothermia." The post-mortem has so far been inconclusive.

His friends have promised to complete the project that Lee Halpin had begun, to help to raise awareness of the issue of homelessness.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Technical Support Engineer

£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

Recruitment Genius: Developer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Account Manager - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing, ambitious, en...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future
Berlusconi's world of sleaze: The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM

Berlusconi's world of sleaze

The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM
Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Films and theme parks are just the beginning. Disney believes its control of the now decades-old franchise can bring in merchandise and marketing millions for years to come
Could the golden age of the gaming arcade ever be revived in the era of the Xbox?

Could gaming arcades be revived?

The days when coin-ops were the only way to play the latest video games are gone. But a small band of enthusiasts are keeping the button-pushing dream alive
Edinburgh Fringe 2015: The 'tampon tax' has inspired a new wave of female comedians to reclaim period jokes

Heard the one about menstruation?

Yes, if you have been at the Fringe, where period pieces are taking centre stage