Falling at Blair's feet

November 30, 2001

The launch of the European Research Institute at the University of Birmingham was interrupted last week when Willie Paterson, head of the Institute for German Studies, collapsed during Tony Blair's speech.

The prime minister has written to Professor Paterson, saying:

"Politicians have been known to lull their audiences to sleep. But I have rarely had such a dramatic and instant effect as I did on Friday morning."

Professor Paterson, who has now recovered from food poisoning, said: "I was terribly disappointed and embarrassed to collapse at that point, and truly touched by receiving this letter."

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