Terry Waite visits Portsmouth school to give talk

Terry Waite with students Ellie Williams-Brown, 17, Loren Dean, 18, and Shree Patel, 17   Picture :  Habibur Rahman
Terry Waite with students Ellie Williams-Brown, 17, Loren Dean, 18, and Shree Patel, 17 Picture : Habibur Rahman

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STUDENTS were given a talk by author and humanitarian Terry Waite.

Sixth form pupils at Portsmouth Grammar School welcomed him yesterday for a talk on his time in captivity and the work he does now.

It was really fascinating hearing what he had to say and how frank he can talk about it.

Loren Dean

In 1987 Mr Waite was taken hostage in Lebanon after spending years negotiating the release of other hostages, including four British people held by Colonel Gaddafi.

He spent nearly five years in captivity, including time in solitary confinement.

Pupils at the school were told about his story as well as the work he does now with his organisation Hostage UK and current terrorism.

Mr Waite, a former envoy for the Archbishop of Canterbury, said: ‘I spoke to the students about the current situation today with terrorism and the effect it has on people. I also spoke about why people who have a well-educated background would join these groups.

‘I also told the students about my experiences of being a hostage and a negotiator and dealing with Gaddafi and Hizbollah.’

He added: ‘Young people always have a lot of interest in my story and the work I do.

‘They might have heard about me from their parents but for a lot of them, this would have been the first time they had heard about these groups and what happened.’

The students said they found the talk interesting and learnt a lot.

Loren Dean, 18, said: ‘It was really fascinating hearing what he had to say and how frank he can talk about it.

‘It was the first time I have heard someone talking about something like that.’

It was the same for fellow sixth form pupil Shree Patel. The 17-year-old said: ‘It was interesting to hear how much he has experienced and the work he is doing now. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear from him.’

Ellie Williams-Brown, 17, added: ‘We were lucky to meet him and learn about his life.’