Terry Waite, CBE - East Cheshire Hospice

Terry Waite, CBE

Terry Waite was born in the Country of Cheshire England on the 31st of May 1939. He was educated at Stockton Heath High School and studied Theology and Social Science in London and the United States of America.  Although he has worked from a Church base for much of his life he is a layman.  On leaving college he was appointed as Education Advisor to the Anglican Bishop of Bristol, England and remained in that post until he moved to East Africa in 1969.  In Uganda he worked as Provincial Training Adviser to the first African Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi and in that capacity travelled extensively throughout East Africa.  Together with his wife Frances and their four children he witnessed the Amin coup in Uganda and both he and his wife narrowly escaped death on several occasions.  From his office in Kampala he founded the Southern Sudan Project and was responsible for developing programmes of aid and development for this war-torn region.

In 1972 he responded to an invitation to work as an International Consultant to a Roman Catholic Medical Order and moved with his family to live in Rome, Italy.  From this base he travelled extensively throughout Asia, Africa, North and South America and Europe both conducting and advising on programmes concerned with Institutional Change and Development, Inter-Cultural Relations, Group and Inter-group Dynamics and a broad range of development issues connected with both health and education.


In 1980 he was recruited by the Archbishop of Canterbury and moved to Lambeth Palace, London where he joined the Archbishop’s Private Staff.  In his capacity as Advisor to the Archbishop he again travelled extensively throughout the world and had a responsibility for the Archbishop’s diplomatic and ecclesiastical exchanges.   He arranged and travelled with the Archbishop on the first ever visit of an Archbishop of Canterbury to China and had responsibility for travels to Australia, New Zealand, Burma, USA, Canada, The Caribbean, South Africa, East and West Africa to name but a few places.


In the early 1980s he successfully negotiated the release of several hostages from Iran and this event brought him to public attention.  In 1983 he negotiated with Colonel Ghadafi for the release of British hostages held in Libya and again was successful.  In January 1987 while negotiating for the release of Western hostages in Lebanon he himself was taken captive and remained in captivity for 1,763 days, the first four years of which were spent in total solitary confinement.


Following his release on 19th November 1991 he was elected a Fellow Commoner at Trinity Hall Cambridge England where he wrote his first book Taken on Trust.  This quickly became an international best-seller and headed the lists in the UK and elsewhere.  Following his experience as a captive he decided to make a career change and determined to give himself to study, writing, lecturing and humanitarian activities.   His second book Footfalls in Memory was published in the UK in 1995 and again was a best-seller.  His third book published in October 2000 Travels with a Primate is a humorous account of his journeys with Archbishop Runcie.  His fourth book, published in March 2015, is a comic novel entitled The Voyage of the Golden Handshake.  ‘Out of the Silence’ a book of memories, poems and reflections was published in November 2016.  ‘Solitude’ was published in November 2017.  He currently writes a column for ‘Inside Time’ a newspaper that is distributed throughout prisons in England and Wales.  He has contributed articles to many journals and periodicals ranging from the Reader’s Digest to the Kipling Journal and has also contributed articles and forewords to many books.  He was elected Visiting Fellow to Magdalen College Oxford for the Trinity term 2006.


Since his release he has been in constant demand as a lecturer, writer and broadcaster and has appeared in North and South America, Australia and New Zealand, South Africa and throughout Europe.   There has been a particular interest in the lectures he has delivered relating his experiences as a negotiator and as a hostage to the pressures faced by executives and managers.   Stress, loneliness and negotiating under acute pressure are but some of the issues with which he has a unique experience and his ability to communicate clearly and with good humour has meant that he is in constant demand as a speaker not only to the Business Community but also to professionals in social work, the Criminal Justice System, education and medical fields as well as to religious groups.   He maintains an on-going interest in current humanitarian and political affairs. He has had a special interest in penal affairs especially penal reform and has been a long time member of the Butler Trust (Founded in memory of the late RAB Butler a former Home Secretary in the UK).


Some of his responsibilities include:


President of Emmaus UK, an international charity working with homeless people since August 1998.


Founder Chairman, now President, of Hostage UK (since 2005), a charity providing support for hostage families and encouraging research into post release care and related issues.

Founder President of Y Care International, the international relief and development agency of the YMCA in the UK and Ireland. Y Care International works in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East to empower disadvantaged young people to lift themselves and their communities out of poverty. Much work is done to assist street children. In India there are several Terry Waite Vocational Training Centres. Founded 1984

Trustee from 1986 until 2010, then Patron, of the Butler Trust (work within UK prisons).


Ambassador for WWF-UK.

Vice President Suffolk Association of Local Councils since 1999

President of the Suffolk Branch of Far East Prisoners of War Association

Member of the Advisory Board of Gorton Monastery since 2003

President of the International Musical Eisteddfod at Llangollen, Wales from 2006.

Vice President of Chester Music Society (since 2011)


Patron of:

The Abbeyfield (Ipswich) Society since 1996

Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre since 1997

Asylum Aid (since 2012)

Bishop Simeon C R Trust (incorporating the Living South Africa Memorial) since 1993

The Bridge Project Sudbury Appeal, since 1999

The British Friends of Neve Shalom – Wahat al-Salam, since 2003

Bury St Edmunds Volunteer Centre, since 1994

COFEPOW (Children {and families} of the Far East Prisoners of War), since July 1999

Coventry Cathedral International Centre for Reconciliation, since 2000

Escaping Victimhood, 2011

Friends of Commonwealth Institute,

Friends of the John Bunyan Museum, since April 2005

Friends of the Samaritans, Bury St Edmunds Branch

Habitat for Humanity, since 2004

Henry Spink Foundation, since 2010

Miracles since 2016

The One to One Children’s Fund, since 2001

Rapid UK, since 2004

Storybook Dads, since 2007

Strode Park Foundation, since 1988

Sunderland Counselling Services, since 2004

Tymes Trust (the Young ME Sufferers Trust) since 2005

Underprivileged Children’s Charity, Bristol, since 2003

Warrington Male Voice Choir, since 1996

West Suffolk Voluntary Association for the Blind, since 1998

and many other organisations.


Some of the awards he has received include:


Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) 1982

Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) 1992

Templeton UK Award 1985

Honoured with the Four Freedoms Award for Freedom of Worship in May 1992 by the Roosevelt Institute during a ceremony in Middelburg, the Netherlands, for his bravery and unwavering fidelity to God’s command that showed the world again how a single individual, sustained by faith, can transform disaster into an opportunity to advance the work of the Lord.

Doctor of Civil Law University of Kent at Canterbury, 1986

Doctor of Civil Law University of the City of London, 1992

Doctor of Law University of Durham, 1992

Doctor of Law Liverpool University, 1992

Doctor of Civil Law University of Sussex, 1992

DHC, Yale Divinity School, 1992

Hon LHD Wittenberg University, 1992

Doctor of Humane Letters, University of Southern Florida, 1992

Doctor of Humane Letters, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1996

Honorary Doctor of Philosophy, Anglia Polytechnic University, 2001 (renamed Anglia Ruskin University 2005)

Honorary Doctor of Letters, Nottingham Trent University 2001

Honorary Doctor of Letters, De Montfort University 2005

Honorary Doctor of Law, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, 2007

Honorary Doctor of Letters, Chester University 2008

Honorary Doctor of the Open University 2009

Freedom of Canterbury 1992;  Lewisham 1992.


January 2020