Ex-teacher gives lessons in equality

GROWING up against a background of apartheid and discrimination, Desmond Tutu witnessed his fellow black South Africans being forced to live in specific areas and denied the right to vote.

One day while Desmond was out with his mother, a white priest – Father Trevor Huddleston – tipped his hat to her. It was the first time he had ever seen a white man pay such respect to a black woman. The incident made him realise that he need not accept the status quo, and that religion could promote racial equality.

Fresh fields for JB

THE past ten years have been what many X Factor contestants would describe as ‘an amazing journey’ for JB Gill since he took part in the TV singing competition. The show thrust him into the public eye as part of the boy band JLS.

‘Being on the show was a whirlwind,’ he tells me. ‘We hadn’t experienced anything like that before and we were thrown straight into the fame and the attention. But we’re all close to our families and to each other, so that kept us grounded. I think we handled it well.’

Star-crossed writers?

AS the page is turned on another World Book Day on Thursday (1 March), The War Cry speaks to eight-year-old Josephine Thompson, who will be going to school dressed as Gangsta Granny, a character from a book of the same name by TV star David Walliams.

What Josephine and other schoolchildren probably aren’t aware of, though, is the recent controversy surrounding David Walliams and other celebrity authors.

Critic converts to campaigner

SIXTY years after Billy Graham’s Greater London Crusade, John Capon remembered the scale of the campaign. In an article for the Church Times in May 2014, he wrote: ‘When the redtop Sunday papers feature religion, it is generally for the wrong reasons. But that was not the case 60 years ago … “Britain’s biggest religious meeting of all time” screamed the News of the World in Gothic type on its front page. “Billy Graham – amazing finale” echoed The People, adding: “Drama at Wembley: 10,000 converts surge forward in the rain.”

Faith is in fashion

ALONGSIDE New York, Paris and Milan, London is one of the fashion capitals of the world. London Fashion Week, in which more than 250 British designers showcase their latest collections to funders and buyers, takes place twice a year, in February and September. Its aim is to promote British fashion globally and it welcomes some 5,000 guests including press, buyers, broadcasters, influencers and industry insiders from all over the world.

On the right track

IN 2014, Joel Fearon did something he never thought he would do. He competed as a member of Team GB in the bobsleigh event at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The four-man team finished in fifth place, and the experience went down in Joel’s book as one of the most exciting times of his life.

Dedicated followers of fashion?

DESIGNERS, models, retailers and fashion journalists have descended on the UK capital for London Fashion Week, which runs until Tuesday (20 February).

Minister's dream marches on

THE civil rights leader and Baptist min­ister Martin Luther King Jr was born in 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia.

His early experiences of segregation laws began at about the age of six, when he and a white friend were sent to different schools. At 14, he won an oratory contest for a speech about equal rights. On the bus journey home he was forced to give up his seat for a white passenger.

We can all serve others through our creativity

 LAST year marked the centenary of the birth of US jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald. To celebrate, UK soul singer Mica Paris recorded and released ‘Imagine My Frustration’ and ‘Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye’ – two classics from the Ella Fitzgerald catalogue.

Tomorrow (Sunday 11 February), Mica is setting out on a tour of UK venues to sing more Ella Fitzgerald songs with a live band. As we talk, she tells me about her admiration for Ella and how she is gearing up for the concerts.