Stoke & Staffordshire

Owen Powell's work in adult education is celebrated

Owen Powell
Image caption The World Affairs class founded by Owen Powell attracts 400 members weekly

A man who leads what was thought to be Europe's largest adult education class for 30 years has been recognised in a special presentation.

Members of the Keele University World Affairs lecture series were celebrating the work of their chairman Owen Powell.

The class, founded by 90-year-old Mr Powell, attracts leading figures in politics and has more than 400 members.

Mr Powell said: "We dare not advertise the class, as we just have no more room in the lecture hall."

Thirst for knowledge

The class's oldest participant, 96-year-old Jack Hood, a founder member, made the presentation on the last night of the current season.

Mr Powell, who was made an MBE for his services to education, said it proved that ordinary people were interested in politics: "Contrary to popular opinion, the success of this course tells us that people want more than they get fed to them in the media."

He said that he was not intending to retire.

"How can I give it up?," he said.

"All these people who come have a thirst for knowledge, and I shall carry on as long as I can."

The World Affairs series invites leading figures in politics and current affairs to deliver a 40-minute lecture, after which they take questions in an open forum. None of them is ever paid.

Past speakers include Lord Carlile, Baroness Jay, Clare Short, Lord Digby Jones, Sir Trevor McDonald, Arthur Scargill, and Frank Field. Next season Lord Goldsmith is due to attend.

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