Author drops into his old school in Pakefield, Lowestoft

ABOUT 400 youngsters were taken on a fascinating journey into the bygone years of their primary school as they played host to a famous old boy – who confided he didn't always pay attention in class.

To celebrate the opening of Pakefield Primary School's new Rainbow building, Michael Foreman, who has written and illustrated nearly 200 children's books, dropped into to give a talk to about 400 pupils.

He was chosen to officially open the building as he went to Pakefield Primary during the second world war.

Mr Foreman, 73, who has illustrated Michael Morpurgo books and wrote the autobiographical War Boys, spent an hour last Thursday talking to 400 excited pupils about his work and his time at the school.

He described how he would get into mischief at the school and then stunned his young audience by describing how the teachers would rap him on the hand with a ruler for misbehaving.

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He also spoke fondly of a wood next to the school where he would go to play with his friends.

Mr Foreman, who illustrated has first book in 1961 and now lives in London, then gave the pupils top tips on becoming an illustrator and author. He said he always carried a notebook around with him and that allowed him to write down observations that could later be turned into pictures or stories.

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Imant Ladusans, the school's headteacher, said Mr Foreman's visit was 'absolutely brilliant'. He added: 'About 400 pupils sat still for the whole hour. He (Mr Foreman) held their attention so much that the pupils did not even fidget.'

The Rainbow building has been in use since September and houses about 200 nursery, reception and year 1 pupils. It was built as part of Suffolk County Council's school organisation review which saw middle schools in the Lowestoft area vanish with the creation of a two-tier education system that has seen primary schools expanded.

Mr Foreman's mother used to run a Pakefield newsagents and he got into the world of art as he delivered papers to a teacher at Lowestoft Arts School who encouraged him to make the most of his talent.

He studied commercial art at St Martin's College in London and did a graphics course at the Royal College of Art.

His first book, The General, was published in 1961.

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