LIVERPOOL'S last privately-owned picture house needs a saviour after the last picture show. The future of the Woolton Cinema has been uncertain since the unexpected death of its owner David Wood in June.
Mr Wood's widow Fleur has now decided she is unable to run it and the picture house will close its doors on September 3.
But the Wood family and the cinema's 12-strong workforce hope the silver screen will be turned on once again - four interested parties have already come forward.
Cashier supervisor Judy Ball said: "We all love this place and we know how much the community loves it.
"It is the last independent cinema in Liverpool and there is nowhere else like it.
"We don't care what happens, as long as it is saved."
Ms Ball, of West Derby, says she had to turn her head to wipe away tears when a small boy asked what was going to happen to the cinema.
"We were all devastated when David died. We had been praying that he would pull through.
"It is understandable why Fleur would want to sell the place. She doesn't know the industry and the cinema was always David's baby. The situation is just so sad.
"People come from all over the place to the Woolton. They won't go to any other cinema, what will they do now?"
After Mr Wood was taken ill in April, dedicated staff have been determined to keep the cinema going, not least projectionist David Parr.
Mr Parr, the cinema's only full-time employee, said last night: "The body of the cinema remains. The staff is its pulse, but David was its heart.
"We have kept going as a tribute to him, but also because we love the cinema so much and it has to be kept alive."
Pat Cobham, the cinema's accountant and company secretary, confirmed that four businessmen have already come forward.
One of the potential buyers is believed to be Wirral-born Charles Morris, who owns a small independent chain, which included the Royalty in Bowness, Cumbria and the Regal in Lancaster.
Ms Cobham said: "Mrs Wood felt there was no way she could keep the cinema open, she has a full-time job and it was always her husband who dealt with the day-to-day running of it.
"There has not been any interest from property developers. It would be a difficult site to develop." Mr Wood was the last bastion of traditional cinema in Liverpool, and after his death at the age of 59, projectionists acros proclaimed the end of an era for private cinema.
His grandfather had opened the city's first purpose-built picture house, the Bedford Hall in Walton, on Boxing Day in 1908.
This led to the well-known Bedford Cinema chain which included the Abbey Cinerama in Wavertree and many others like King's Hall at Anfield, Mayfair on Aigburth Road and the Plaza in Allerton.
Later the chain was run by David's father, Tony Wood. David Wood worked briefly in his father's cinemas but mainly worked in the distribution side.
It wasn't until he took a gamble in 1992 that he made his first and only move into the cinema-running side of the business by purchasing Woolton Cinema.
The single screen at Woolton is well-loved by cinema enthusiasts for its old-fashioned presentation with plush comfortable seats and an atmosphere harking back to the golden era of cinema.
Mrs Wood said: "He loved that cinema. He was proud to continue a family tradition that spanned almost a century."