Inspirational visit to school by St Albans movie star Philomena

Year 11 students Hannah Stobart, Louise Tallon, Philomena Lee, her daughter Jane Libberton, Dominiqu

Year 11 students Hannah Stobart, Louise Tallon, Philomena Lee, her daughter Jane Libberton, Dominique Taylor-Neale, St Albans High School for Girls Headmistress Jenny Brown and Lara Vincent-Young - Credit: Archant

The story of St Albans resident Philomena Lee’s search for her son has inspired not only a film but also girls at a local school.

Philomena, accompanied by her daughter Jane Libberton, gave a talk to Year 11 GCSE drama pupils at St Albans High School for Girls

The story of her search for her son, born out of wedlock and taken away from her to be sold to an American family by Catholic nuns in 1950s Ireland, was behind the award-winning film Philomena starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan.

Philomena retold her story to the students, who are currently in rehearsal for their scripted GCSE performance of the play Be My Baby by Amanda Whittington which tells of the many young unmarried pregnant mothers in the 1960s who were sent away in shame and secrecy to have their babies.

At the end of the talk, a sea of raised hands demonstrated the girls’ eagerness to pose questions to Philomena about her story.

Upon being asked if she had ever heard from the adoptive parents, Philomena further revealed the tragedy behind her story as she said: “No, the adoptive parents were always told the children were orphans. They had no idea their mothers were in the home with them”.

Jane revealed that people were contacting them all the time to say thank you and express their gratitude that the laws surrounding such secrecy were beginning to change.

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