I was 17 when Terry Waite, CBE, former envoy to the Archbishop of Canterbury was taken hostage in Beirut in January 1987 and I was 21 when he was released in November 1991.
Can you think back to a 5 year span of your life?
I would have finished my A Levels, been selected to play Lacrosse for Under 21 England, gone to university, applied and got my first job to work in Seville's Expo 92 and all the while, Terry was in solitary confinement.
Millions of us will remember the day he was released and seeing him on the TV as he waved at the waiting press as he stepped off the plane. The whole nation, nay whole world, felt enormous admiration, respect and affection for this incredible human being who had survived 1763 days of captivity, most of which were in solitary confinement.
I even bought the CD (remember those things?!) Carol Kidd When I Dream as it had Terry doing a compelling voiceover, so suffice to say I'm a bit of a super fan! Who isn't?
I was invited last year to hear Terry speak at the beautiful village church in Dedham, Essex. I said yes in a heartbeat. He delivered his powerful talk about his time in captivity and also did a book signing on his latest book: Solitude.
Since that day in April 2019 when he signed my copy😍 I have often thought about his words and his strength of character. And now with this Coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world and us having to go into self-isolation I felt compelled to ask him to do an interview so he could share his experiences with us and also give us hope with his words of wisdom (FYI I had to go to my back catalogue of Ultimate Door Opening skills to open Terry's door and was elated when I got a YES!).
In the interview you hear how Terry would structure his day in his pitch black room, how he would keep his appearance up to the best standards the British military had taught him despite having his hands and feet chained to a wall and how he would keep his mind active during the days and nights.
He shares his advice on what we should do when we may be plunging into the depths of despair during this crisis, what we can do now we don't have deadlines of catching trains for meetings in London, giving talks, doing the school run or simply going out to your weekly gathering.
We have our warm beds, kitchens, sitting rooms, gardens (if we're lucky) or balconies and access to a phone and the internet, something he didn't have. He always wondered what it would be like if he did have such connectivity with the outside world so now he, like us all is back into self-isolation and will make the most of the time to do something he's passionate about.
I really hope you enjoy the interview and I would love to ask you to share it far and wide so many more people can hear Terry's advice, thoughts and golden nuggets.
I highly recommend his book Solitude: Memories, People, Places.