Andy McNab, the famous former SAS soldier and now bestselling author, enthralled Andover College students last with an inspirational presentation about his military experiences and career. Andy is the latest in the College’s new expert speaker programme providing real life context for students and inspiring them towards successful futures.

Andy shared the background details of his life as a teenage ‘delinquent’ and how on joining the army, aged 17 with a reading age of a 9 year old, he was motivated by a Captain in the Education Core who said: “Every time you read something you gain more knowledge. Every time you increase your knowledge you achieve your goals.”

His talk to students focused on this theme of ‘acquiring knowledge to achieve success.’ How, as an SAS soldier he would spend weeks in the education centre acquiring new skills such as learning maths and complex formulas concluding that: “Dynamite doesn’t blow up bridges, maths does.”

On leaving the army, after 10 years as an SAS soldier, Andy was approached to see if he would consider writing about being captured in Iraq. He said he had never written a book before but following his mantra that ‘knowledge is power’ he went to the experts to acquire the knowledge before writing the critically acclaimed Bravo Two Zero. He has since written two other non-fiction bestsellers, is the author of the bestselling Nick Stone thrillers, several other fiction and non-fiction titles as well as a series of books for young adults.

English students were interested to hear about his experience of writing for a number of national newspapers and his love of Charles Dickens, who he said wrote about people, which makes his writing as relevant today as when it was first written in the 1800s.

Due to Andy’s literary success it wasn’t long before Hollywood came calling and he was asked to work on action films including Heat, Black Hawk Down, Transport 1,2,3 and 4 and The Expendables. With the knowledge and experience acquired advising on films he is currently learning the skills to produce a film next year.

When not writing books or advising on films Andy campaigns tirelessly as a spokesperson and fundraiser for both military and literacy charities with a special interest in post-traumatic stress. He is trekking to the South Pole next week in aid of The Reading Agency, who the College also supports with the annual reading challenges.

The next expert speaker to visit the College will be Professor David Crystal OBE, the world’s foremost language expert today. His visit is quite a coup for Andover as he currently has no plans to visit any other colleges this academic year. The College will be inviting local schools to attend.