When I was kid, the most inspiring speaker we ever had in our school was the local copper coming in to find out who’d painted the enormous hairy willy on the new bus shelter.

How things have changed.

A couple of months ago, the pupils at Deptford Green School in London showed up to assembly for what promised to be a normal day and out walked the one and only Bill Gates to talk to them.

Can you imagine that? Regardless of what you think about Microsoft, it’s quite something to have one of the world's most influential business figures come to a humble South London school to talk about what makes him tick.

The visit was a massive success for www.speakersforschools.org, a scheme set up by the BBC’s Robert Peston to get the great and the good into ordinary schools to inspire the next generation.

He sat down with his Rolodex and started making calls to see who from his epic contact list would be willing to give up their time for free and give talks.

He wasn’t short of volunteers and now Speakers for Schools has dozens of high-profile public figures available to book.

This site is where you find out a bit more and, if you work in a school, apply for a visit.

As far as giving something back goes, this is quite impressive.

And no, we never did find out who painted the willy…

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