ONE woman’s battle to turn York’s historic Grays Court into a boutique hotel in the middle of the global economic crisis has been captured on film by an independent documentary maker.

For Love Or Money features Helen Heraty as she struggled over the past three years against bankruptcy and disputes with neighbours, before opening Grays Court near the Minster as York’s newest upmarket B&B in August.

Documentary director Kim Hopkins, who said she had contributed all her savings and three years of her life into making the film, said the “inspirational, intimate and funny” documentary followed the extraordinary dreams and ambition of Helen, who was “determined despite insuperable odds to convert a crumbling, Grade I-listed, ghost-ridden national monument into a family-run boutique hotel”.

She said filming began before the global “credit crunch” and captured in microscopic detail the economic storm of 2008 until the present day, as Helen and her family struggled for survival against mounting debts and an uncertain future.

She said: “Along the way we learn a lot – about the drive to succeed despite enormous risk, about class and aspiration in modern Britain, about the peculiar intimacies of a large bohemian family, and the sobering effects of economic meltdown seen through the prism of a couple trying to achieve an expensive dream.”

Kim, who is from near York and whose previous documentaries have been shown on the BBC, Channel 4, Discovery, National Geographic and Al Jazeera, said most of the film was already shot, financed by herself, but she was now looking for “crowd funding” – through donations from the general public – to pay for some extra shooting, equipment hire, editing, music clearances, festival fees and marketing.

She hoped the documentary would eventually be shown on TV.

• To see a trailer for the documentary or contribute, go to