Former hostage Terry Waite has been unveiled as one of the star attractions of this year’s St Magnus International Festival on Orkney.
Mr Waite was the Assistant for Anglican Communion Affairs for the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, in the 1980s.
As an envoy for the Church of England, he travelled to Lebanon to try to secure the release of four hostages, including the journalist John McCarthy. He was himself kidnapped and held captive from 1987 to 1991.
In 1980, Mr Waite successfully negotiated the release of several hostages in Iran including Jean Waddell, who was secretary to the Iranian Anglican bishop Hassan Dehqani-Tafti, Canon John Coleman, and Mr Coleman’s wife.
Four years later, he also successfully negotiated with Colonel Gaddafi for the release of the four remaining British hostages held in the Libyan Hostage Situation – Michael Berdinner, Alan Russell, Malcolm Anderson and Robin Plummer.
But after he was taken hostage in Lebanon, Mr Waite remained in captivity for 1,763 days, the first four years of which were spent in solitary confinement. He was finally released on 18 November 1991.
In 2004, Mr Waite returned to Beirut for the first time since his release from captivity.
Mr Waite will speak during the St Magnus International Festival at the New Phoenix Cinema in Kirkwall on June 26 about “the nature of peace and reconciliation in our world today” and talk of his personal experiences. It will be followed by a short question and answer session.
This year’s festival also coincides with the centenary of the scuttling of the German Fleet in Scapa Flow.
It is being marked on the day of the centenary by the festival with a theatre piece, The Day the Fleet Went Down.
On 21st June 1919, in the first year of peace, a group of Stromness Academy pupils boarded the Flying Kestrel for a tour of the German High Seas Fleet which was interned between Hoy and mainland Orkney in the waters of Scapa Flow following the conflict of WWI.
“The school children found themselves to be witnesses to history as, at a signal from the German Rear Admiral, the large warships began to sink around them,” said the festival.
“This Stromness Museum production tells this story through archive recordings, images and readings by descendants of those children one hundred years after the events which extended the history of the 1914-18 conflict into 1919.”
For more information on St Magnus International Festival visit https://www.stmagnusfestival.com