WILDLIFE cameraman and TV presenter Gordon Buchanan encouraged Truro High School’s upper sixth form to fill their lives with learning and seize every opportunity to encounter new experiences at this year’s Amy Key Talk and Dinner.

The annual event hosted by the Old Girls’ Association, is named after the school's first headmistress and with the generous sponsorship of Philip Martin estate agents, the association is able to invite a high-profile speaker to address school leavers.

Gordon Buchanan – whose BBC TV natural history programmes such as Grizzly Bear Cubs & Me have gripped the nation – inspired and entertained the assembled gathering in equal measure as he recounted his close, and often terrifying, encounters with some of the most majestic species on earth in some of the world’s harshest natural environments – from the black bears of Minnesota and the snow wolves of Canada’s Ellesmere Island to the polar bears of Arctic Norway and the elephants of the Kenyan wilderness.

Reflecting upon what he had learned from these experiences, Gordon opined that life on earth was meaningless and that time and angst could be saved by not searching for the meaning of it all.

“Does a poppy observe the meadow and wonder what all of this is about?” Gordon asked.

“No. It just wants sunshine and rain. Does a bee buzz from flower to flower preoccupied by meaning?” he added. “No. It just wants the nectar. Does a polar bear stop to scratch its furry head as it roams across the Arctic tundra and ask itself “why am I here?” he continued. “No! It just wants to stay safe and eat as many seals as possible before the cold dark winter returns. There is only one sensible thing to do with this life of ours and that is to fill it. Learn as much as you can, take pride in what you are doing, be respectful and show compassion,” he concluded.

“Like the poppy, enjoy the sunshine and the rain. Like the bee, seek out the nectar. Like the polar bear, stay safe and eat as many seals as possible before the long cold dark winter. Good luck with your exams and good luck in life.”

“Gordon Buchanan is an exceptional human whose natural empathy with the creatures he encounters shines through,” added Sue Dowding, chairman of Truro High School’s Old Girls’ Association.

“In his field of expertise, he has to be calm as well as courageous, confident as well as canny – all qualities that are absolutely vital in the toolkit of life. We were all enthralled by Gordon’s experiences and thank him warmly for his thoughts on the meaning of life. We cannot wait to watch his next adventure in which he will reveal the secrets of the Equator from the air.”