Former hostage to visit Hunts school

THE former hostage, Terry Waite, will visit on Friday one of the Cambridgeshire schools which sent him letters of support while he was captive in Lebanon. Although he didn t receive the letters at the time, he saw them when he was released in 1991 and sai

THE former hostage, Terry Waite, will visit on Friday one of the Cambridgeshire schools which sent him letters of support while he was captive in Lebanon.

Although he didn't receive the letters at the time, he saw them when he was released in 1991 and said he was touched.

Elsworth Primary School had also kept a candle alight throughout his captivity.

Mr Waite told The Hunts Post yesterday (Tuesday): "It is very touching that young children and their teachers had taken the opportunity to write to someone miles away whom they didn't know, showing their concern."


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Mr Waite said teachers in many schools had helped their pupils to develop concern about issues "beyond their own back yard" and he had kept all the letters in an archive.

This is the second visit since his release to Elsworth school. His was there in 1992, quite soon after his release, to thank the children and open a school extension.

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On Friday, he will open another extension.

Yesterday, he was in Winchester where he was opened a new branch of Emmaus, the work project which helps homeless people learn a trade.

Mr Waite opened the first branch of the project at Waterbeach just north of Cambridge and there are now 15 branches across the country.

Now 70, and earning a living as a writer and after-dinner speaker, he also works - purely as a volunteer - for Hostage UK, relief agency Y Care International, and AbleChildAfrica.

From 1993 to 1994 he was elected as a fellow commoner at Trinity Hall, Cambridge where he wrote his first book Taken on Trust, an international best-seller.

Before being captured, he had been the envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury and was taken hostage while trying to negotiate the release of Brian Keenan and John McCarthy. He spent four years in solitary captivity.

On Monday (March 2) he, Brian Keenan, John McCarthy and McCarthy's then girlfriend, Jill Morrell, who spearheaded a massive publicity campaign to free him, met up again.

The four have recorded a programme for the BBC Radio 4 series The Reunion, hosted by Sue Macgregor. It will be broadcast on May 8.

"It was lovely, very nice to meet up again," he said. "This was the first time in a long time we had all sat down together and spoken together.

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