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REVIEW: Benedict Allen - Adventures in Paradise, St George’s Guildhall, King’s Lynn

Benedict Allen. Photo: SUBMITTED.
Benedict Allen. Photo: SUBMITTED.

Despite Benedict Allen’s lecture in Lynn being postponed by two months, after the explorer got into trouble in Papua New Guinea, I’m sure the audience would all agree it was definitely worth the wait.

Allen had been set to give his Royal Geographical Society talk – Adventures in Paradise – in November, but the event was delayed when he encountered a tribal war in Papua New Guinea and developed malaria and dengue fever, meaning his return to the UK was pushed back.

Speaking to the packed-out St George’s Guildhall on Friday, the explorer said he had thought of his lecture in Lynn when he realised he would be late back home.

Allen was apologetic for the postponing of the event, which is part of the King’s Lynn Festival’s winter programme, but I suspect the majority of the audience were just happy to hear him speak.

The explorer focused mainly on his 2016 trip to Papua New Guinea with BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner which was televised last year, and which aimed to achieve Gardner’s dream of seeing birds of paradise.

This was one of Allen’s recurring messages throughout the night – to encourage people to follow their dreams.

His love of life is so clear, and inspiring. He told the audience: “If you remember one thing tonight, I want you to remember that every day is a bonus.”

His story-telling was captivating, if jagged at times, but it’s understandable for someone who has so much to tell.

So much so, the first half of the lecture overran, as dud the interval, with Allen taking time to talk to those with books to sign. And by the end of the night, I thought he could have spoke for a further hour or two had he had the opportunity.

Allen’s Adventure in Paradise was an exciting insight into the journeys of an explorer, and here’s hoping he makes a return trip to Lynn in the future.

Rebekah Chilvers

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