Sir Ian McKellen Visits Wimbledon School

Leading actor meets students and staff

Students and staff at a Wimbledon school were delighted with a visit from leading actor Sir Ian McKellen.

Sir Ian, co-founder of Stonewall, a lesbian, gay and bisexual rights charity, which is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary, visited Ricards Lodge High School on Tuesday (October 7).

Stonewall was formed by a small group of men and women to oppose barriers to equality, such as Section 28 of the Local Government Act which stated: "A local authority shall not promote the teaching of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship."

Section 28 was made law in the UK in May 1988 and was repealed in 2003. Ricards Lodge, in Lake Road, is a Stonewall Champion school.

Sir Ian took time to talk to lots of students including the schools' Junior Leadership Team, RR6 Ambassadors and members of the Equality and Diversity working groups. Key stage 3 students were also treated to an assembly.

The star, who is well known for his roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as X men star Magneto and as playing Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, answered questions about homophobia as well as his acting career.

Merton Council's cabinet member for education, Councillor Martin Whelton, said: "We champion equality and diversity in Merton schools and I'm glad that students at Ricards Lodge had the opportunity to meet and hear from Sir Ian McKellen, a great ambassador of these values."

Headteacher Alison Jerrard said: "It was wonderful to meet Sir Ian who was utterly charming. At Ricards we have a commitment to tackle all kinds of prejudice. We strive to establish a culture and environment where each individual is valued and where appreciation is given to everyone’s age, disability, gender, race, religious belief, and sexual orientation. We are committed to ensuring that we treat each other and those in the wider community with dignity and respect."

October 9, 2014