Ex-pupils protest against Eton educated Damian Lewis's planned appearance at London comprehensive
Former pupils at a Camden comprehensive are protesting against a decision to invite Damian Lewis to launch the school’s 50th anniversary celebrations because the actor went to “elitist” Eton College.
The Homeland actor has agreed to switch on the laser display at Acland Burghley school, in Tufnell Park, north-west London, when the school marks its landmark birthday on Wednesday night.
But disgruntled alumni say the invitation to Lewis, who lives locally, is at odds with the school's ethos and questioned why he was chosen above other well-known ex-pupils such as singer Ms Dynamite or Lee Thompson, the saxophonist from Madness.
One former pupil, City University sociology lecturer Rachel Cohen, who attended the school in the 1980s, has set up a petition which has attracted 90 signatures urging the school to change its plans.
She wrote: "Acland Burghley has a long and proud tradition in comprehensive education, creatively working with and supporting diverse local students. Damian Lewis, was educated at Eton a school that, more than any other, represents the reproduction of privilege and inequality in the UK.
"We have nothing against him as an actor or local resident, but he is a wholly inappropriate choice for this celebration of a wonderful local comprehensive school.
"We call on the current head and governors of Acland Burghley to change this decision. There are some brilliant graduates of our school, Eddie Grant, Ms Dynamite, Akala or Lee Thompson for instance.
"We encourage you to invite these, or others whose associations with the school are long-standing and commitment to comprehensive education evident."
Head teacher Nicholas John said Lewis' Eton education was of "no consequence", adding that the anniversary party was one of a number of celebrations planned.
He told the Camden New Journal: "Damian Lewis very kindly agreed to open the light show for us, to give up an evening of his time. The school he went to is of no consequence.”
He added: “We are delighted someone who lives in our area is happy to give up their time and show their support for the school."