Celebrated author Michael Morpurgo, whose notable works include War Horse and Why the Whales Came, visited the College this week to deliver a truly inspirational talk to pupils, parents and members of staff as well as invited guests from the local community and neighbouring schools.
This event was the first of the Epsom Great Lives lecture series, hosted by Sir Anthony. The evening was an ‘in conversation with…’ event, as Sir Anthony talked to Michael about his life and writing, and his surprising journey to becoming one of the country’s most cherished authors.
The pair exchanged thoughts and recollections from Michael’s childhood and his family, to his memories of the Second World War and the retired and injured soldiers he saw and spoke to as a child. Many of those he met were left scarred and disabled by the conflicts’ atrocities, and become Michael’s inspiration for many of his books. He talked of his time in the army and subsequent teaching career and of meeting his wife, Clare, who was in the audience as he spoke of the work of the charity they set up together to help city children discover the beauty and peace of the countryside.
Mrs Winmill, who attended the talk, said: “We all felt transported by the sound of his voice and the pace of his words. Adults and children alike were left mesmerised, putting their hands up as if we were all children again and he was our teacher when he asked us which books of his we had read. The evening was a breath of fresh air – a cosy, comfortable and delightful talk where we all forgot about our daily lives for an hour and marvelled at this tremendous but so approachable author’s ability to make you stop, enjoy and reflect on gripping stories.”
The success of the evening could be easily measured by the length of the queue waiting to have their books signed and their photo taken next to the legend that is Michael Morpurgo, on the bench near Wilson pitch.