Finding Solace in Survival – with Terry Waite CBE, Judith Tebbutt and John McCarthy CBE

Hostage International is hosting a unique event at the Old Bailey bringing together former hostages Terry Waite CBE, Judith Tebbutt, and John McCarthy CBE in conversation.

‘Finding Solace in Survival’, on Thursday 26 March, will see the trio sharing their experiences of time in captivity and adjusting to life back home.

Buy your tickets here.

Lara Symons, Director of Hostage International, said: “The trauma of a kidnap, not only for those taken hostage, but also for their families and loved ones, is unimaginable to most of us and we are keenly aware that talking about such experiences isn’t easy.

“We are grateful to Terry, Judith and John for this unique opportunity to hear their different perspectives.”

Terry Waite CBE represents the view of a humanitarian, as someone who for many years sought, through negotiation, to support the needs and wellbeing of hostages. He was kidnapped in Lebanon in January 1987 and held hostage for 1,763 days.

Following his release Terry was approached by many hostage families requesting help. This led to the formation of the charity in 2004 to offer support and guidance to families and friends of those taken captive.

He said: “Whenever someone is taken hostage we are concerned about their safety and wellbeing. However, the family at home also faces considerable difficulties. They may have been requested to keep quiet about the kidnapping. They may face acute financial problems. Whatever it may be, not a day will pass when they will not feel anxiety.”

Judith Tebbutt, is on the Board of Hostage International, and was formerly a social worker in a psychiatric hospital. She highlights the risks tourists may face when simply being ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time’. Having gone on holiday for a break from her demanding job, she was staying in a beach hotel off Kenya’s northern coast when she was torn from her husband by Somali pirates and held captive for six months.

She explains: “I’m looking forward to helping highlight the good work the charity has provided to former hostages and their families.

“I wish I had known about the charity after I was kidnapped and my husband murdered by Somali pirates when on, what we had hoped would be, a holiday of a lifetime.

“My situation is vastly different from Terry’s and John’s, but I’m honoured to share a stage with them to discuss the challenges hostages face, while raising funds for Hostage International.”

John McCarthy CBE brings the perspective of a journalist, writer and broadcaster, who was kidnapped in Lebanon in 1986 and held for more than five years. For a small period of time he was held with Terry, who had gone to Beirut to negotiate John’s release.

John said: “We were all very lucky to survive captivity and to pick up with our lives. It’s not an easy process and the help Hostage International offers other returning hostages is so valuable. Of course, a key part of that homecoming is reconnecting with family and friends.”

He added: “I remember seeing a video of my mother early on in my captivity and realising that her life and those of all my loved ones were ‘on hold’ too while I was away.

“It’s wonderful that, as well as helping returning hostages, Hostage International also reaches out to support people back home, both during and after the time of separation.”

Terry added: “We are not particularly well known by the general public, as most of our work remains totally confidential, but we need funds to enable Hostage International to continue its work in providing free practical and emotional support to those in need of our expert help.”

Proceeds from this event will go to Hostage International. If you can’t attend but would like to make a donation, please do so here.