Top Fear At Great Baddow High School

Andrew Hammond

You will be forgiven for mistaking the man in the photo as the famous Top Gear presenter, Richard Hammond. It is, in fact, the Hamster’s younger brother, and horror author, Andrew Hammond.

GBHS students captivated by ‘CRYPT’ author Andrew Hammond

Students in Year 7 and 8 at Great Baddow High School were captivated by tales of plague doctors and ghost stories by ‘CRYPT’ author, Andrew Hammond in the lead up to Halloween this year. CRYPT stands for Covert Response Youth Paranormal Team.

This is the second visit to Great Baddow High School by the author and the students were excited to take part in the workshops and were queuing up for signed copies of his books.

“We invited Andrew Hammond back again this year as it was such a great success last time round. He fully engages with all the students as he shares his writing tips using the scary settings from his ‘CRYPT’ series and encourages students to start writing and inspires them to read his books.” Mrs Cathy Hawkins, GBHS Senior Librarian

To a room packed full of Year 7 students, and a fair few teachers as well, the author told sinister tales of the medieval archway, Micklegate Bar, where severed heads were once placed on the spikes on York’s city walls, and Poveglia Island, an island believed to be of the world’s most haunted locations.  Talking about the settings for each of his five books, he explained how the students should keep their eyes and ears open for inspiration at all times and that they should make sure they do their research when thinking about starting to write.

“Don’t settle for words like ‘It felt scary’ – you need to show it like a film!” Andrew Hammond

In workshops held during the day, he tasked the students to write the opening paragraph of a new story in which they introduce the main character by describing what they see, as if they were looking through a lens that could zoom up close to the person.

“Describe the characters reactions to something rather than the character, as it’s the build up that makes it scary and frightening not the actual ghost. If you can get the reactions right, the reader will react the same way.” Andrew Hammond

Great Baddow felt privileged to welcome Andrew into the school, as he is currently focused on his work as a Head Teacher, and only undertakes two or three school visits and writing workshops per term, but he was equally pleased to be invited:

“I have really enjoyed their company today – they were fun this morning and the students were well behaved enough to join in and get involved and were confident enough to express their feelings.” Andrew Hammond

With the students looking forward to working on ‘heroes and villains’ in their next English lesson, the workshops were inspirational and well received and who knows, maybe in the future, one of the students in the audience may return to the school to talk about a book they have written and inspire another generation of writers.

You can order copies of some of Andrew Hammond’s books at the library, or from the popular online book store. He also has a special website for CRYPT. You can learn more about Andrew in this East Anglian Daily Times article – it seems he does not much like being constantly compared to his brother!

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