On Sunday night, the UK came together to celebrate national darling Adele’s latest album, 30, on ITV’s An Audience With Adele. The London Palladium was filled with an audience of celebrities, including a drunkenly enthusiastic Emma Thompson, Gareth Southgate, Stormzy and Alan Carr. The true star of the show, however, was neither the singer nor her audience, but a surprise guest.

In a segment taking questions from the audience, Adele was asked if there was anyone in particular from her youth who had supported and inspired her. The pop star responded that her English teacher from her secondary school, Chestnut Grove in Balham, got her “really into literature” which helped inspire her songwriting today. “She was so bloody cool. So engaging, she really made us care and we knew she cared about us,” said Adele as a spotlight appeared in the audience and the teacher, Ms McDonald, made her way to the stage for a tearful reunion.

Watching Ms McDonald tell Adele, “I’m so proud of you,” was a touching moment and a reminder of the difference a supportive and inspiring teacher can make to a person’s life.