Former MP Martin Bell speaks at Friends' School on children in war zones and corruption in parliamen

PUBLISHED: 10:18 23 March 2010 | UPDATED: 22:11 31 May 2010

Martin Bell at Friends' School

Martin Bell at Friends' School

FRIENDS School Saffron Walden played host to Martin Bell OBE at the Words Around Britain festival on Friday night where he made a wide-ranging and impassioned talk. The Former BBC War correspondent and MP spoke movingly about daily life for children in w

FRIENDS' School Saffron Walden played host to Martin Bell OBE at the Words Around Britain festival on Friday night where he made a wide-ranging and impassioned talk.

The Former BBC War correspondent and MP spoke movingly about daily life for children in war zones, which in his current role as one of UNICEF's goodwill ambassadors, he encounters regularly.

He added, however, that he had been even more shocked by the corruption he encountered when he entered Parliament back in 1997 - and that it has clearly only got worse since then.

Jo Burch, one of the organisers of Herts Events, commented that: "Martin Bell's integrity, good sense, and willingness to practice what he preaches was inspiring. We all left after his talk believing that we really could make a difference to the state of our democracy."

"Martin Bell is the first political figure to speak at our festival and he'll be a hard act to follow."

Earlier in the week, women's rights on marriage came under the spotlight as social historian, Maureen Waller, explained how lucky today's new wives are

Jo Burch said: "There were some very brave men in the audience that evening, but they could not have failed to have been impressed by the extraordinarily spirited and determined women over the last five hundred years who fought for their rights when their marriages broke down".

The third in the cluster of festival events this weekend was an afternoon of readings from the works of two favourite nineteenth-century poets to a near sell-out audience at Dame Bradbury's School.

"We were overwhelmed by the demand for tickets for the readings. Our audience clearly relished the chance to listen to great poetry." Said Jo

"We were treated to a spirited rendition of Wordsworth's poems by his great, great, great grandson, Antony Wordsworth, assisted by his daughter, Lucy Brown."

The festival concludes this week with a sell-out evening with former schools inspector-turned author and raconteur, Gervase Phinn; a visit from poet, librettist and award-winning author, Kevin Crossley-Holland; and an evening with FT and former Guardian correspondent and Wisden editor, Matthew Engel.

All details are on the Harts Events website at www.hartsevents.co.uk or from Harts or the Saffron Walden Tourist Information Centre.

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