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Former pupil taught by George Orwell reminisces during Amnesty International walk

Sponsored walk for the Hillingdon branch of the charity was supported by Hayes MP John McDonnell

Geoffrey Stevens, ex-pupil of George Orwell, points himself out in a photo from his days at school with the novelist in the 1930s

Walkers celebrating the life of former Hayes teacher George Orwell were stunned when a pupil of the novelist found himself in a photo with his old teacher.

Geoffrey Stevens joined Amnesty International Hillingdon members on a sponsored walk through Hayes before ending up at the Fountain House Hotel, in Church Road, once a private school for boys at which Eric Blair was appointed headmaster in the 1930s.

It was during his time as an English and French teacher at the school that he chose the pen name George Orwell before his first book Down and Out in Paris and London was published.

The author went on to write two of the most famous novels of the 20th Century, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four .

The Amnesty members and guests were given a short talk on the life and works of George Orwell but were astonished to hear Mr Stevens was once taught by the novelist and could even point himself out in a photo with the novelist.

L-R: Amnesty International Hillingdon members with, third from right, John McDonnell MP

Member Les Gillot said: "I was completely thrown because I had spent hours researching Orwell’s life and times, preparing a talk, only to be met by someone who could give me first-hand knowledge.

"I thought all the pupils in the old black and white photo were deceased. It was as though history came alive.

"I would like to thank all those who contributed generously to a most memorable afternoon of fund raising and for their support including John Mcdonnell MP who took time out from his busy schedule to support this worthy organisation.

"I sincerely believe that Amnesty’s work in exposing human rights abuses and support for its victims would have resonated well with George Orwell’s ideals. It was a most memorable day," he said.

Amnesty’s work is wide ranging and includes the exposure of human rights abuses and imprisonment without trial, offering support for those individuals or groups.

It also campaigns strongly on arms control and for an end to the death penalty.   

If you are interested in the work done by Amnesty or joining the walk, contact Mr Gillot on 07726302111.

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