The annual Bonarjee Lecture triumphs free speech, free media and democracy and is held in memory of Old Caterhamian Stephen Bonarjee who established Radio 4’s Today programme in the 1950s and is known as ‘the father of modern radio’.  Stephen was also a supporter of the school throughout his life. Previous speakers have included John Humphreys and Byline Times founder and OC Stephen Colegrave.

For 2022’s lecture we are delighted to welcome Colin Freeman whose coverage of the war in Ukraine for the Daily Telegraph has tracked every twist and turn of the ongoing crisis, from the impact on individuals directly involved to the questions around the Nord Stream pipeline explosions.

Colin started his career on the Grimsby Evening Telegraph in 1994, then moved to the London Evening Standard.  Having travelled to post-Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to freelance, he became the Sunday Telegraph’s chief foreign correspondent.

Colin spent the next 12 years covering stories across Africa, Asia and the Middle East for the Sunday and Daily Telegraph. During that time he was shot in Iraq, and kidnapped by pirates in Somalia for six weeks. Since returning to freelancing in 2016, he has also written for the Spectator, the Economist, the BBC’s From Our Own Correspondent, the British Journalism Review, Tortoise Magazine, the Lady and Country Life.

In addition to news reporting Colin has authored three books, the latest of which is Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Seathe mission to rescue the hostages the world forgot. The book tells the story of three ships’ crews who were hijacked during the Somali piracy crisis, but whose employers lacked the money to pay ransoms to get them freed. As a result, they were stuck in captivity for up to five years, until Colonel John Steed, a former British army officer, took it upon himself to get them out. Colin’s interest in this story arose partly from his own experience of being held hostage in Somalia.

His other books are The Curse of the al-Dulaimi Hotel (and other half-truths from Baghdad), a memoir of post-war Iraq, and Kidnapped – life as a Somali pirate hostage, covering his own experience of being abducted by pirates.

Please click here to reserve your place via the school website.


Wednesday 7 December 2022 

Drinks: 6.30pm
Lecture begins: 7.00pm

Venue: Centre for Performing Arts, Caterham School