Huddersfield New College has revealed a unique opportunity for students and staff on Time to Talk Day, announcing that next week all students and staff will be able to join a special live talk and Q&A with John McCarthy, a highly regarded writer and broadcaster – and a survivor of an unimaginable experience.

John McCarthy CBE is also known as the man who survived being held hostage for an unbelievable 1,934 days after being kidnapped in Beirut where he was working as a journalist. For the next five years he lived blindfolded in squalid conditions in the Lebanon, never knowing if he would live or die.  He will be joining the HNC community for a special virtual session on Friday 12th February from 12.30pm where he will share his story about he stayed strong in the face of cruelty and not knowing what would happen to him – and how he has gone on to succeed in his career and personal life. He will also be answering questions.

As a College, HNC has a programme of mental health support and on Time to Talk day is highlighting how talking about experiences and feelings – both big and small – is key to building resilience and being able to looking to the future. As well as launching our special guest speaker, students can also join online drop ins, and as always access HNC’s programme of support which includes appointments with a dedicated Student Welfare Officer, and a special MS Teams group which shares hints and tips to help students cope with lockdown.

Lee Goddard, Vice Principal, Student Support comments: “We are absolutely thrilled that John will be joining us to share his story about how he survived being held hostage for five years, never knowing from day to day whether he would survive. Despite this being an unimaginable experience, he is known for how he talks about it with humour and positivity. On Time to Talk Day we are encouraging our young people to talk about their thoughts and feelings and protect their mental well-being during this current pandemic and we hope listening to John's story will help inspire them about how they can deal with adversity and difficult times. John exemplifies the power of self-motivation and strength of character, and we hope that students will enjoy this unique opportunity to listen to his awe-inspiring story. We feel very privileged that he is able to join us.”

Students will all receive a calendar invitation to this event.


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