LEGENDARY actor and human rights campaigner Sir Ian McKellen gave students at a Hagley school an afternoon they will never forget with his recent visit.

The Shakespearian actor, most well known for playing Gandalf in ‘The Lord of The Rings’ trilogy, spoke to almost 1,000 pupils at Haybridge High School and Sixth Form.

Sir Ian’s visit came as part of his role as co-founder of Stonewall, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality charity.

Michael Conroy-Harris, community co-ordinator at Haybridge, said: “We were extremely lucky and honoured to have the visit.

“We have just marked our first year as a Stonewall Schools Champion and we’re striving to be pro-active in ensuring the school is as inclusive and supportive as it can be – for all students.”

As part of the three-hour school visit, Sit Ian held an hour-long assembly to a packed hall containing students in years 7 to 11.

He talked to the students and staff about his career, his school days and his experiences of coming out as gay, while students were given to the opportunity to ask him questions.

Sir Ian also spent time talking to a small group of older students who had prepared questions about his campaigning work and spoke about their own experiences and future plans.

Year 12 student Sophie, who was part of the group, said: “Having such an iconic person come in to discuss such an important issue was incredible.

Fellow student Chinvati added: “It was a fantastic way to get the school engaged with current LGBT issues.

“Meeting Sir Ian was an experience I will never forget.”

Sir Ian also read a section of ‘Sir Thomas More’ to the students - a lesser-known piece co-written by Shakespeare – in which the speaker warns against intolerance and reminds the crowd of their obligation to fellow humans in need.

Alex Newton, programmes officer at Stonewall, said: ‘It’s fantastic to see the progress that Haybridge High School and Sixth Form are making.

“We look forward to continuing our work with them to ensure that all staff and students continue improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people both at the school and in the local community.”