A FORMER Bromsgrove school pupil and Dire Straits rock star went back to his roots for a sell-out performance at his old school.

John Illesley played the hit songs of his former band at Bromsgrove School’s state of the art Performing Arts Centre, Routh Hall, to support Bromsgrove School Foundation on Tuesday November 12.

The Foundation raises vital funds to provide bursaries for Bromsgrove School and it aims to foster a life-long relationship between the School and its alumni, parents and friends.

The musician and front man was interviewed on stage by fellow Old Bromsgrovian and celebrated author Nicholas Evans, who wrote The Horse Whisperer.

John recounted humorous anecdotes of his school days and it is rumoured that his Housemaster at School told him that if he didn’t knuckle down and work for his A levels, he would be in dire straits.

As a pupil at Bromsgrove, John joined the School's rock band and it was here that the bass became his instrument of choice. He was Lance Corporal in the CCF and a House Monitor in his final year.

Award-winning writer Nicholas Evans, went on to study law at Oxford University, graduating with first class honours.

He then worked as a journalist for three years on the Evening Chronicle in Newcastle-upon-Tyne before moving into television and producing films about US politics and the Middle-East for a weekly current affairs programme called Weekend World.

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Published in the autumn of 1995, The Horse Whisperer has now sold around fifteen million copies worldwide. Since then, Nicholas has written four more novels: The Loop, The Smoke Jumper, The Divide and his latest, The Brave.

The first set from John included classics from Dire Straits’ repertoire, including Brothers in Arms, Wild West End, Money for Nothing, Romeo and Juliet and Sultans of Swing.

The second half opened with a further interview by former Dire Straits Manager Paul Cummins who led the audience on a journey of the band’s life from their humble beginnings in South London, to playing all over the world to millions of fans.