On 11th February a good audience gathered at Sir Thomas Rich’s School, Gloucester, to hear Paul Murray give a fascinating and moving illustrated talk about his recent book: ‘From the Gaeltacht to Galicia: A Son’s Tale’. 

Paul told us of his father’s experiences in the Far East as Medical Officer and Commanding Officer in 6 concentration camps, documented in the daily diary he kept for three and a half years in the form of love letters to his future wife, Paul’s mother - the subject of the recent TV documentary: Litir Grhá (Love Letter from WWII). Paul linked this theme to his own upbringing in Belfast (where his father was a GP) during The Troubles, with his parents’ pilgrimages to Lough Derg and his own both to Singapore and Japan, following his father’s footsteps, and to Santiago, via the Caminos Francés, Primitivo and the Via de la Plata. These Paul walked not only in his father’s memory, but also as fund raisers for NASS, the national charity for Axial SpA, a painful form of genetic arthritis from which he suffers, as did his father. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to this valuable charity (published by Honeybee Books and available from Paul: [email protected]).

After the talk, which had quite a profound effect on everyone present, there was a chance to browse the many artefacts which Paul had brought with him, and chat over tea and cake.

Photo 1: a selection of letters forming Major Murray’s diary, displayed on the interactive board

Photo 2:              the TV film, available on iPlayer

Photo 3:              Paul with two fellow sufferers, Ruth and John