‘Out of the Silence’ – An evening with Terry Waite CBE

Newquay Tretherras was honoured and privileged to welcome Terry Waite CBE for an evening lecture about his life experiences and creative use of language to ensure his wellbeing during this time.

Terry Waite is a humanitarian and has had a long experience of negotiating for the release of hostages in many conflict zones throughout the world. Mr. Waite is perhaps most recognised for working on the release of four hostages in Lebanon during the late 1980s when he himself was captured and spent almost five years in strict solitary confinement.

In front of a large and highly attentive audience, Mr. Waite told of his humanitarian work around the world as an envoy for the Church of England and detailed the events that led up to his capture. He discussed how it was that he managed to keep mentally, physically and spiritually healthy by using his mind through the use of creative language.

“As a child, I was made to read extensively. During my time in captivity, much to my surprise, I was able to recall many of the books I had read”.

Mr. Waite explained how he found a love for literature and language, particularly its flow and rhythm and how often out of solitude came great creativity. During his time in strict isolation, Mr. Waite wrote his first book, ‘Taken on Trust’, in his head.

‘We must not underestimate the power of creativity, particularly in education and the quieter subjects, they serve a great purpose”.

Mr. Waite also talked about his latest book ’Solitude’ which tells stories of people who are faced by ‘solitude’ in different ways and also referred to ‘Out of the Silence’, which is an illustrated collection of narrative and poems that also looks at introspective solitude. During the week, students have been studying the poems and prose of Mr. Waite in English lessons and used his work as a springboard for their own creative writing.

During the interval, Mr Waite took time to meet with the audience and sign copies of his books. The evening concluded with an open question and answer session, where the audience, including Newquay Tretherras students, asked Mr. Waite a range of questions about his time as a hostage and his opinions and thoughts following such a traumatic experience.

Grahaeme Jones, Lead Teacher of Spiritual Moral Social and Cultural development of students, said: “Here at Newquay Tretherras, we do fantastic work to help students develop aspects of their character in addition to their academic studies through our NT Character programme. One of our key characteristics is resilience, and I cannot think of anybody better to exemplify the idea of resilience than Terry Waite CBE. It was a truly inspirational evening, and he is an exceptional person.”

Profits from the evening went to charitable programmes supported by Terry Waite, such as families, the homeless and young people overseas.