A thrill for author to return to school

May 24, 2017

It was back to school on Friday [19 May] for Burgess Hill Girls ‘old girl’ Kelly Willoughby, author of the ‘School for Stars’ book series alongside her sister, This Morning host Holly Willoughby – who was also a pupil there.

Kelly, whose daughter is now also a Burgess Hill pupil, said appearing at the school’s Open Day was a thrill: ‘Coming back to Burgess Hill and experiencing it through parents’ eyes has been wonderful.

‘The school has grown in both heart and stature. Parts of the grounds which were buried in woodland 30 years ago have been developed into wonderful sports grounds. I can’t wait for my daughter to enjoy what Burgess Hill has to offer her. It will be a strange feeling once again standing on the sidelines, cheering Burgess Hill on in whatever sport she will no doubt thrive in. I can’t wait!’

Recalling her own school days, Kelly said: ‘I started at Burgess Hill at the beginning and I finished as Head Girl.  I’m a huge believer in confidence.  No matter who you are or what your strengths are, if you’re not confident in yourself you’re going to struggle.

I believe Burgess Hill gave both Holly and I self-belief in spades. Once you have self-belief and a good work ethic the rest will follow. I thank Burgess Hill School for giving me both.’

The first book in the eight-strong School for Stars series, First Term at L’Etoile, was published in 2013. It follows the journey of twin sisters Molly and Maria Fitzfoster as they enroll at L’Etoile.

Packed with drama and dance, midnight feasts and makeovers, Kelly says the stories were partly inspired by the Enid Blyton’s classic Mallory Towers series.

Burgess Hill Girls Interim Head Liz Laybourn said: ‘There is no better way to spend a Friday than being inundated with prospective parents who showed a genuine interest in all aspects of the school at our Summer Open Morning.  Visitors enjoyed talking to Kelly about life at the school when she was a pupil and how the school shaped her for where she is today.’

The Open Day included a book auction to raise funds for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. Burgess Hill parent Natasha Penney’s son Sebastian [pictured together with Kelly] was treated at the world-renowned Royal Marsden for a rare childhood cancer.