Guest of honour at Beechwood Park School's Speech Day on Saturday, July 3, was Michael Morpurgo OBE - prize-winning author, playwright, former Children's Laureate and latterly the brains behind the 2012 Olympic mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville.

The audience of pupils, parents and staff were enraptured as Michael, a former teacher, regaled the audience with reminiscences of his own time at Prep School - which could not have been more different from boarding at Beechwood today.

Born in St Albans in 1943, Pongo (the nickname Morpurgo earned at his school) held the attention of even the youngest children, as he dispensed tips on how to become a good storyteller.

He then presented prizes, taking the opportunity to talk to many of the award winners as he did so.

Beechwood Park's Headmaster, Patrick Atkinson, comments: "Michael Morpurgo's visit to Beechwood Park will linger long in the memories of all those privileged to have witnessed it. He was very entertaining indeed."

As well as being a multi-award winning writer, Michael Morpurgo and his wife set up Farms for City Children and have three farms in Devon, Wales and Gloucestershire, open to inner city school children, who come to stay and work with the animals.

In 1999 this work was publicly recognised when he and his wife were awarded an MBE for services to youth.