POLE TO POLE? iT STARTED in the rivelin valley

Michael Palin with former Birkdale head Michael Hepworth and current head Dr Paul Owen.
Michael Palin with former Birkdale head Michael Hepworth and current head Dr Paul Owen.

FAMOUSLY going Pole to Pole and travelling to other remote corners of the globe, Michael Palin recalled how he picked up the travel bug on geography field trips with Birkdale School in Sheffield.

The comic actor, TV presenter and writer was inspired by excursions to the Rivelin Valley, Forge Dam and beyond thanks to his geography teacher John Hall.

He recounted highlights of his travels when he returned to Birkdale to unveil a recently commissioned portrait of Mr Hall, who went on to become headmaster from 1963 to 1983, and who died last year.

“The school has changed beyond recognition and it is wonderful to see how successful it is today,” he said. “I feel honoured to be asked back to speak about John Hall. I remember his geography lessons well. All those dots on a map started me off on my travels.”

Also in attendance at the school last Friday were two other former headmaster, Michael Hepworth (1983-98) and Robert Court (1998-2010).

Birkdale also prepared the TV personality for his trips to extreme climates in another way. Another memory was playing sport on the playing fields off Hagg Lane in Crosspool in all weathers.