Teen provides the building blocks of Red Cross’s new campaign

Morgan spence 5

LEGO is one of the hottest trends of 2014, and now a Scottish teenage fan is helping a charity get in on the act.

Alex Turnbull's photo

14th February 2014 by Alex Turnbull 0 Comments

The 65-year-old construction toy has been adorning the celebrity gossip pages recently after David Beckham confessed to playing it to unwind and Warner Bros released the first ever feature film made entirely of the building bricks.

The British Red Cross is now giving Holywood a run for its money with its own online Lego-based video game, which is the centrepiece of its latest campaign, Resilience.

What’s truly brilliant about the animated video game is that it was created in a tiny Renfrewshire bedroom by a 14-year-old schoolboy.

It’s a film with a serious message but I had a lot of fun making it and I’m sure people will have fun playing the game.

Morgan Spence, a  third year pupil at Johnstone High School from Kilbarchan, has been making Lego-based films for three years with a basic webcam and a laptop.

He heard about the campaign, which aims to teach people the work of the Red Cross and the importance of being able to withstand and recover from disasters at home and abroad, from his aunt who works for the humanitarian organisation.

Morgan begged his aunt to show charity bosses his work in the hope of being asked to help out.

They said yes and Morgan produced Disaster Island, a video game which uses Lego to depict scenarios for players to choose where they’d like to live but then highlights the dangers, and eventually the solutions, to problems they may face.

The video game went live on the Red Cross website on Monday and is already winning high praise on social media with Stephen Fry  tweeting a link to it.

Despite his success, Morgan, also a keen member of his local scout group, remains modest and just hopes people will learn something from his work.

“Making Disaster Island has taught me a lot about the Red Cross and the work they do at home and abroad,” he said.

“I understand how important resilience is – being properly prepared can save lives.

“If my film helps other people understand that and makes them think, then I’ll be very proud.

“It’s a film with a serious message but I had a lot of fun making it and I’m sure people will have fun playing the game.”

Paul Jenkins, head of partnership development at Red Cross, praised Morgan for creating a game which makes the campaign’s lessons easy to understand.

He added: “Disaster Island highlights the importance of resilience in a simple way.

“It illustrates the need to work with communities to take action beforehand to make sure that the impact of disasters is drastically reduced.

“Our work to build resilience with communities has been guiding what we do for decades and is now as important as ever.”

As well as the satisfaction of helping out a worthwhile campaign Morgan
is hoping being given the chance to have his work promoted so widely will also help him out in his future career.

He added: “People are a bit surprised when they find out that I make animated films with Lego but all my pals think it’s really cool.

“I’m pretty excited about my film being shown on the website of a big organisation like the Red Cross because it will be seen by a huge number of people.

“I’m hoping to make animation my career so Disaster Island was great experience and will be good to have in my work catalogue.”

To take the Disaster Island challenge, go to redcross.org.uk.