Christ's Hospital Grecians (year 13 pupils) enjoyed a compelling visit from writer Damian Le Bas, an Old Blue (former pupil). Damian’s book ‘The Stopping Places: A Journey Through Gypsy Britain’, recently a Book of the Week on Radio 4, is part travelogue, part memoir of his traveller childhood. The book includes episodes of his time at CH, during which he did not reveal his Romany background.
Damian’s talk was not a reading from the book but an account of it and included tales of his childhood – it is a rare CH pupil who spends his holidays roofing or selling flowers at markets, and equally rare for a young man of gypsy heritage to make his way through school to Oxford. A career in poetry and journalism led to ‘The Stopping Places’ – his exploration of the laybys and locations where travellers have traditionally crossed paths.
As a former editor of ‘Travellers’ Times’, Damian proved incredibly deft at dealing with questions and was knowledgeably able to crystallise for his audience many of the social issues facing British gypsies - the intolerant brutalities of the tabloid press, for example. One Grecian said Damian ‘was just the sort of Old Blue she’d like to be… doing something amazing, yet humble with it.’
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