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'Alita: Battle Angel' filmmakers give new bionic arms to young amputee (exclusive)

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When she was just 15 months old, Tilly Lockey, from the north of England, fought the battle of her life against meningococcal septicemia. She survived; however, both her hands needed to be amputated.

Tilly, now 13 and an advocate for kids with prosthetics, received a surprising gift from the creators of the new film Alita: Battle Angel : a set of state-of-the-art bionic hands.

The film is the ultimate girl power story of acceptance, technology, humanity … not to mention cyborgs who are given bionic limbs to fight a futuristic war.

Tilly and <em>Alita: Battle Angel</em> star Rosa Salazar walk the red carpet at the movie’s London premiere. (Photo: Getty)
Tilly and Alita: Battle Angel star Rosa Salazar walk the red carpet at the movie’s London premiere. (Photo: Getty)

Tilly was requested to appear at The Dorchester Hotel in London for a photo shoot; there, she was met by the 20th Century Fox team.

“She was in one room and the film crew were waiting secretly next door,” Tilly’s mum Sarah explained.

Tilly with her new bionic arms at the U.K. premiere of <em>Alita: Battle Angel</em>. (Photo: Getty)
Tilly with her new bionic arms at the U.K. premiere of Alita: Battle Angel. (Photo: Getty)

“She had come down to London thinking she was just coming for a photo shoot – so it was a complete surprise when the film crew came in and presented her with her new arms, telling her she was a real-life Alita.”

The hands were created in partnership with Open Bionics and 20th Century Fox to make sure the limbs could do things like grasp and move properly and weren’t just aesthetic.

James Cameron, who produced the film, is a big fan of Tilly’s.

“Tilly has grown up to be an incredible person and has never let her disability hold her back in anyway,” he said.

Hollywood director James Cameron catches up with Tilly at the recent premiere event. (Photo: Getty)
Hollywood director James Cameron catches up with Tilly at the recent premiere event. (Photo: Getty)

“Prosthetic arms aren’t cheap, especially for children. As Tilly grows from baby to child and child to adult, she needs replacement arms to match her body as she gets older,” he continued.

“So, we decided to have the Alita design team to work with Open Bionics to build her a bespoke pair of advanced prosthetic arms, that are affordable.”

As well as her huge surprise, Tilly got to play superstar for the evening, walking the Alita: Battle Angel red carpet with star Rosa Salazar at the London premiere.

Part future, part machine, all inspirational.

Watch: James Cameron reveals working title, new details about upcoming Terminator sequel:


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