Hollywood actor Lennie James inspires Kingsford Community School pupils to read more

Actor Lennie James with Kingsford Community School pupils Picture: Achievement for All

Actor Lennie James with Kingsford Community School pupils Picture: Achievement for All - Credit: Achievement for All

Actor Lennie James has met with pupils from a Beckton school to discuss the importance reading had in his journey from a children’s home to Hollywood.

Lennie, who has appeared in films including Snatch and Blade Runner 2049, joined youngsters from Kingsford Community School for the event at Marylebone library, west London.

He said: “I am an actor and a writer, which is about a million miles away from what I thought I’d be when I was growing up. Reading, in large part, made it all possible.

“Reading opened my mind to the possibilities beyond what was expected of someone who looked like me and was from where I was from.

“Reading plays, books and scripts set me to dreaming and made me brave enough to try to live out my dreams.”

Lennie, best known for his role as Morgan Jones on American drama The Walking Dead, lived in a south London care home after his mum died when he was just 10.

After graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, he has featured in films and television shows both in the UK and the US.

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His latest show, Save Me, will see him star in a programme he has written and created himself.

Kingsford headteacher Joan Deslandes said: “I am thrilled that our pupils have had the opportunity to meet such a positive role model as Lennie.

“People like Lennie show our pupils how through reading new worlds can be discovered and that no barriers are insurmountable.

“The time my pupils have spent with Lennie have taught them a lesson for life about the authority of reading. He is genuinely an authentic role model.”

The meeting was organised ahead of World Book Day by education charity Achievement for All, which is aiming to get young people to read for a collective 100 million minutes on Thursday.

CEO Prof Sonia Blandford said: “Lennie is a fantastic, much-needed role model - he highlights what life-changing doors can be opened through reading, dreaming big and believing in your ability to achieve no matter who you are or where you come from.”