Graham Norton to go back to his old school for book launch

Graham Norton to go back to his old school for book launch

Celebrity broadcaster Graham Norton is to visit his alma mater in West Cork next week to launch a new book about the historic school, which dates from 1642.

However, Norton will not be the only big name to grace Bandon Grammar School on Monday - artwork by well-known sports stars, authors, musicians, artists and others will also go up for sale in a Secret Auction on the day.

Pieces by rugby player Darren Sweetnam, author Louise O’Neill, Young Offenders actress Jennifer Barry, artist Pauline Bewick and musician and songwriter Mundy, will be among those for sale as part of the fund-raising auction for the Burren Chernobyl Project.

The charity works in many institutions across Belarus, providing essential support for children and adults with special needs in orphanages and adult institutions as well as families still affected by the Chernobyl disaster.

Norton will have lunch at the school, meet students and teachers, and tour the premises before launching Bandon Grammar School - A History, by headmaster Ian Coombes, who has traced the story of the school from its beginnings in 1642 to the present day.

“We believe that Bandon Grammar School is the oldest school in Munster in continuous operation,” said Mr Coombes, who revealed that the book took two decades to research and three years to write.

The 448-page hardback, which costs €30 and will go on sale in the school and in local bookshops, also profiles famous past pupils, such as Norton himself, rugby player Darren Sweetnam and international hockey players Conor and David Harte.

As part of the launch, visitors can participate in the auction of 300 post-card sized pieces of artwork which will be displayed beforehand in a Secret Exhibition. Artwork by celebrity milliner Philip Treacy has also been promised for the event.

"People could be getting the work of a student or a celebrity,” said a teacher at the school, Carena McCarthy, adding that the minimum donation for a piece of artwork is €10, but that larger donations will be gratefully accepted on the day.

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