FORMER Blue Peter presenter Valerie Singleton returned to her Somerset roots when she delighted business leaders with stories of her distinguished career at Taunton School.

The broadcaster, whose mother was born in Wellington, said she loved visiting Taunton at the school’s last business networking breakfast of the year.

Figures from some of the county’s leading businesses, charities and organisations were treated to Christmas carols over breakfast by the prep school’s Cantabile Choir before Valerie took a stand to share anecdotes from her 50-plus years on stage, screen and radio.

As well as recalling amusing memories of her 10 years in the Blue Peter studio, she was also keen to discuss some lesser-known episodes of her career, including the time she was briefly kidnapped by revolutionaries in Iran while filming a piece for the former BBC current affairs programme Tonight in 1979.

Later, she talked of her recent travel writing excursions and her involvement with a new computer software business venture in Dorset.

Becky Wright, of life and career support firm New Leaf Life Design, said: “It was lovely to hear more of her background – I’m a little star-struck to be honest.

“She has lived an amazing life and has been in some incredible situations and I love her commitment to bringing the world into people’s homes.”

Steve Golby, managing partner at Chartered Accountants AC Mole added: “It was very interesting.

“To wrap up a career as varied as hers so succinctly and entertainingly can’t be easy.”

After her speech, Valerie said: “I love coming to Taunton because I am a West Country girl at heart.

“Events like this are tremendously important for businesses. Just that one meeting with the right person can make all the difference.”