- Category: News
- Created on 07 March 2017
Maghull High School students and staff were thrilled to host Sir Ian McKellen on Friday 3rd March 2017. Sir Ian, widely regarded as one of the finest actors of his generation and known for his roles as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies as well as Magneto in the X-Men series, dropped in to speak about his role as an ambassador for Stonewall. Sir Ian, a co-founder of Stonewall - the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights charity formed in 1989, visits schools to help promote equality and fairness in respect of LGBT issues. The school, which has a highly proactive approach to equality issues and a very active Peer Mentor group led by young people, is part of the Stonewall Champions programme. The visit coincided with Lesbian and Gay History Month.
Sir Ian spoke to an audience of three hundred staff and students who were in absolute awe for over an hour. He told of his personal and professional life as well as his campaigning work. For many, it was an emotional experience.
During the talk, Sir Ian chose to reiterate the words of Gandalf from "Lord of the Rings" - one of his most notable film roles. He urged that students work hard in school and study for exams, otherwise "You shall not pass!". Sir Ian ended the talk with a speech from Shakespeare and the students gave him rapturous applause.
Over lunch with the school's Peer Mentor group, which is made up of about 20 young people, Sir Ian and Rob Bullock, a Stonewall representative, urged them to stand up for their right to fair treatment for all and to challenge homophobia.
James McQuade, Phoenix Centre Manager, thanked the people at Stonewall for facilitating such a fantastic opportunity and the day will be remembered by all who were in attendance. James is looking forward to working with the Peer Mentor group to further advocate LGBT awareness across the school and community. He was very proud of the school's young people. "Sir Ian found those he met to be warm, inquisitive, intelligent and very accepting" he said. He described Sir Ian as an enigmatic guest, very down to earth and with an exceptionally charming personality.