An Evening with Terry Waite and Martin Bell
Terry Waite and Martin Bell join the festival this evening to talk about their eventful lives and the views and beliefs they hold dear. Their careers, Martin as a BBC foreign affairs correspondent for and Terry working for the church, have taken them all over the world. Both have faced great danger; Terry Waite negotiating the release of hostages in Lebanon was himself held hostage, and Martin risked his life in international war zones and was badly wounded in Bosnia.
Terry Waite began his career in the Church Army, worked in the diocese of Bristol and then in 1969 he and his wife moved to Uganda, where he was an advisor to the Anglican Archbishop. He travelled widely in East Africa and while there set up an aid project to assist war torn Southern Sudan. Moving to Rome in 1972 he worked as an international consultant to the Medical Mission Sisters where he was concerned with a range of health and education development issues. In this role he travelled extensively throughout Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe.
In 1980, Robert Runcie, the Archbishop of Canterbury, appointed him as his Assistant for Anglican Communion Affairs. In this role he was responsible for the Archbishop’s diplomatic work and communications and exchanges with overseas churches. In 1980 he successfully negotiated the release of 7 Anglican Church members held hostage in Iran. Four years later he met Colonel Gaddafi and arranged the release of 4 British hostages held by Libya. The following year he assisted in the successful negotiations to free two hostages held in Lebanon. In 1987 while in Beirut to negotiate the release of the remaining hostages, he was taken hostage himself and spent 1,763 days in captivity. He was released on 18th November 1991.
Following his release, Terry Waite has devoted himself to writing, studying and pursuing humanitarian causes, founding Hostage UK in 2004, to support the families of those taken hostage. He was made a CBE in 1992.
Martin Bell joined the BBC in 1962 following national service, in the Suffolk Regiment and a first class degree in English from Cambridge. Following three years in Norwich he moved to London and became a foreign affairs correspondent. In a distinguished thirty year career he reported from 80 countries and covered 11 conflicts. These included conflicts in Vietnam, Angola, Nigeria, the Middle East and Northern Ireland. In 1992 Martin was seriously wounded by shrapnel while in Sarajevo covering the war in Bosnia.
He was BBC diplomatic correspondent 1977-78, Chief Washington correspondent 1978-89 and Berlin correspondent 1989-94. He won the Royal Television Society’s Reporter of the Year award in 1977 and again in 1993.
In 1997 he left the BBC to stand as an Independent Candidate in the Tatton constituency in Cheshire, where Neil Hamilton was the sitting Conservative party MP and facing allegations of sleaze. Martin Bell took the seat with a large majority and sat as MP for one term only. In the House of Commons he spoke on British policy in the third world and relations with the former Yugoslavia. He retired from politics in 2001 after coming second in the parliamentary election for the constituency of Brentwood and Ongar.
In the same year he was appointed UNICEF UK Ambassador for Humanitarian Emergencies, to assist children in areas of conflict and natural disaster. He was made an OBE in 1992.
Martin has written 8 books including ‘An Accidental MP’ and ‘War and the Death of News’.
Terry Waite and Martin Bell will be happy to sign copies of their latest books.