Sunday 16 June 2019

'She got it just right' - Christina Noble on Deirdre O'Kane's performance in film about her life

Deirdre O'Kane in 'Noble'
Deirdre O'Kane in 'Noble'
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Humanitarian Christina Noble has said she is thrilled that her life's work has been memorialised in film while she is still alive to enjoy it.

The film 'Noble' will hit the big screen on September 19 and stars comedienne Deirdre O'Kane playing Christina, or 'Mama Tina' as she is known to the children she works with around the world.

Christina told the Herald: "I enjoyed it so much when I watched it and Deirdre did a great job playing me."

And she joked: "So often they wait until someone is dead to make a film about them and I'm glad they didn't do that with me."

The film opened to stellar reviews in the States and has picked up several awards along the way, including the prestigious Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema earlier this year.

Christina is modest about her work saying: "I don't like when they call me a charity worker or a philanthropist, I'm a field worker.  I do everything for the love of the children and at the end of it all I'd die for them.

"I'm not magic, I just work hard," she said. "I'm a simple person but a very smart one and you need to be in my line of work."

A previoius People of the Year Awards winner, Christina was born into poverty herself.  She travelled to Ho Chi Min City in Vietnam in 1989 after recurring dreams of poor Vietnamese children.  Since then her work has expanded to Mongolia and the hard-working aid worker still prefers to be in the field entertaining her wards with renditions of 'The Fields of Athenry' than anywhere else.

The Christina Noble Foundation concentrates on guiding street children through education and many graduate from university and go on to work as doctors, nurses and engineers, she said.

Christina said her whole family work at the foundation.

Her grandson Thomas works alongside her in Mongolia and he has inherited his grandmother's talents.

"He's incredible, he's a fantastic humanitarian and the children love him," she said.

Despite approaching her seventieth birthday this year she has no plans to retire.

"This is the most rewarding type of work you can do," she said, adding that "you have to be completely dedicated because it's hard work but I wouldn't do anything else."



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