This is a picture of Hollywood star Sir Ian McKellen charity bosses would rather you did not see.

Gay rights charity Stonewall set up an innocuous trip for the Lord of the Rings star to Carshalton Boys’ Sports College on Friday to recognise work the school had done combating homophobic bullying – but then tried to stonewall any media coverage of it.

The college invited the Sutton Guardian to cover the visit, but in a series of bizarre events over-sensitive Stonewall staff suddenly demanded we delete our photos, and harangued our photographer into leaving the school premises.

The farce was over Stonewall’s fears the visit could have been portrayed negatively.

A spokesman for the charity later apologised for its actions, saying there had been “miscommunication” about whether or not our newspaper had been invited.

Headteacher Simon Barber called the visit a privilege. He said: “Sir Ian has brought something very special to the school, a day that the boys will never forget.”

Sir Ian, who played Gandalf and was one of Stonewall’s founders, spent most of the day at the college.

He slipped on a school tie, and gave an inspiring assembly to 500 students.