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Comedians Ben Miller and Ed Byrne visit Stephen Perse Foundation


By Gemma Gardner


A chance meeting at a memorial service for Professor Stephen Hawking led to two award-winning comedians making a visit to Cambridge.

The Stephen Perse Foundation welcomed Ben Miller and Ed Byrne on Monday (November 26) for a series of events across both the senior and junior schools.

Melissa Santiago-Val from the Stephen Perse Foundation said: “We strive to find inspiring and different ways of bringing creativity into our schools – for example we are also currently running an Oscar Murillo art installation across our schools, in a worldwide project that sees students around the world drawing and writing on canvases on their school desks – so this was another great opportunity.

“Not only did Ben read to and entertain our younger students with his new book, the lunchtime event was like having our own comedy chat show – showing clips of both comedians’ highlights, looking at the type of skills needed to be a success in broadcasting, film, comedy and writing, both coming through an academic route.

“Overall, such a fun day, and we are so grateful to Ben Miller and Ed Byrne for doing the events.”

Ben Miller and Ed Byrne visited the Stephen Perse Foundation. Picture: Martin Bond (5709749)
Ben Miller and Ed Byrne visited the Stephen Perse Foundation. Picture: Martin Bond (5709749)

Ben first met with staff and students at Prof Hawking’s memorial service at Westminster Abbey in June.

The funnyman, best known as one half of the comedy double act Armstrong and Miller, initially only agreed to give readings from his new children’s book The Night I Met Christmas. But later, the 52-year-old comedian decided to join forces with Ed for a lunchtime event at the school.

Around 300 students, parents and staff were invited to hear Ed interview Ben about his journey from studying natural sciences at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, to a PhD in physics and then embarking on a career in comedy and writing.

Ben can currently be seen in cinema’s co-starring with Rowan Atkinson in Johnny English Strikes Again.

He also recently presented We Are Most Amused and Amazed on ITV with Alexander Armstrong at the London Palladium to celebrate the 70th birthday of Prince Charles.

Ben Miller and Ed Byrne visited the Stephen Perse Foundation. Picture: Martin Bond (5709759)
Ben Miller and Ed Byrne visited the Stephen Perse Foundation. Picture: Martin Bond (5709759)

Ed recently completed the famous El Camino, a pilgrimage walk across Spain to Santiago de Compostela, for the BBC.

One Year 8 student said: “Thank you ever so much for organising the Ben Miller and Ed Bryne event, it was really funny and interesting to hear about their experiences in university and later life. It was such a treat to have an experience during the school day. I was very lucky to receive tickets to it.”

A senior school student said the event was “entertaining and funny”.

“My favourite moment was them describing their fascinating careers,” the student added.

A parent added: “My son is in Year 8 and he thought the senior school talk was incredible – Ben is one of his favourite actors so it was such a dream for him.”

Also on the day, Ben gave two presentations, a reading and signed autographs for students at the junior school and then at Dame Bradbury’s in Saffron Walden in the afternoon.



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