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Saturdays in the library prepared me for Paxman

Posted On: 13 Feb 2020   |   Posted By: The Big Issue

After lunch every Saturday afternoon, my father would take my brothers and me on our weekly pilgrimage to a beautiful early Edwardian redbrick building that housed East Ham library. We boys spent several hours sprawled on the floor, voraciously absorbing books on topics spanning from the Aztec Empire to Victorian engineering to the fiction of Roald Dahl. We would return home with a shopping trolley full of borrowed books, just in time for the BBC's final football scores (and sometimes a disappointing West Ham result!)
When people meet me now, they often associate me with my exploits as captain of Emmanuel Cambridge's team on University Challenge. However it was my years of being engrossed in books at East Ham library that had prepared me to square up to quizmaster Jeremy Paxman.
Since University Challenge, I have used my public platform as a school teacher to promote education and in particular numeracy (as national numeracy ambassador alongside Countdown's Rachel Riley and Money...

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