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Cirencester Deer Park School

Cirencester Deer Park School

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Lockdownload Conversation #1

Sonia Purnell, author and journalist

To expand our pupils' horizons, Head of School, Mrs Lang, is arranging a series of 'Lockdownload Conversations' with people from a variety of backgrounds. These meetings are open to all Deer Park staff and pupils in Years 9, 10 and 11 on a first-come, first-served basis and will take place virtually in Microsoft Teams.​


Lockdownload Conversation #1: Sonia Purnell
author and journalist

The first Deer Park Lockdownload Conversation took place on Wednesday, 13 May 2020, with journalist and bestselling author Sonia Purnell, whose most recent book is 'A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of Virginia Hall, WWII’s Most Dangerous Spy'.

Over 50 pupils in Years 9-11 attended this first online Lockdownload Conversation and found out more about the astonishing true tale of an female spy, aka The Limping Lady due to her wooden leg, active in France for the British and the Americans during WWII. The rights have already been sold to Paramount for a major film starring Daisy Ridley.

Pupils had the opportunity to ask questions about Virginia, along with questions about Sonia's writing in general.  There were some excellent questions and Jorge, who Sonia felt asked the best question, was the lucky winner of a signed copy of Sonia’s book.  Jorge commented "The chat with Sonia Purnell was amazing as not only was I able to interact with her, I was able to learn about an amazing story. It was a fantastic experience and I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to attend the meeting."

a woman of no importance by sonia parnell

If you wish to listen to the LockDownLoad Conversation with Sonia, the audio file has been added to the bottom of this page.


History teacher, Mr Ferne: "Listening to Sonia talk about Virginia Hall was an incredible experience. We can all take inspiration from Virginia’s resilience and determination. The book is an excellent read and I can not recommend it highly enough."

Head of English, Mrs Davies: "It was wonderful to hear Sonia talk with such passion about Virginia's courage and determination - what an incredible character! Sonia gave some helpful advice to aspiring young writers, urging them to write as much as possible to develop their skills. She emphasised the importance of planning and drafting and described how she sent her stories off to the children's television programme 'Blue Peter' at a young age."


You can also read about:
Lockdownload Conversation #2: James Johnson, former Assistant Head
Lockdownload Conversation #3: Lynn Adlington, nurse and Rotarian