John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy made the headlines as Britain's longest kidnap victim, after he was held hostage for five years in the Lebanon.

Now the journalist, author and broadcaster is much in demand as an inspirational and motivational keynote speaker, as he shares his terrifying experiences and how he needed extreme levels of self-motivation to stay alive.

He endured 1,943 days of squalid captivity and during that time he developed many techniques to overcome physical and mental torture, self doubt and despair, qualities that business audiences and individuals find fascinating and informative.

John's ordeal began in April 1986 when he was working in Beirut for a television news agency. The political situation in Beirut escalated and it became too dangerous to stay. After a goodbye drinks celebration for his friends he was headed for home. But en route to the airport he was kidnapped at gunpoint by Islamic fundamentalists. He spent the next five years, sometimes blindfolded, often very scared, in a mosquito-ridden cell in the Lebanon where he endured beatings, physical hardship and, at times, solitary confinement.

Amazingly, it wasn't all gloom and doom for John. He shared a cell with Irish lecturer and philosopher Brian Keenan for much of his captivity and their banter, sense of humour and friendship in the face of adversity was a lifesaver in every way. Together they tried to comprehend why their guards acted as they did and to understand their political and religious motivations and beliefs. John and Brian sometimes had the courage to stand up to their captors and they were even sometimes able to joke with them.

But there were frightening times too, when they were gagged and bound with tape and transported from one cell to another.

Incarceration taught John many things. He developed techniques to overcome physical and mental torture, self-doubt and despair. Above all, he learned to live with himself. John's story is dramatic, moving and humbling and it captivates all who hear it.

John McCarthy was eventually released by the Islamic militant group on 8th August 1991, after 5 years in captivity. The journalist and author was Briton's longest held hostage in Lebanon.