|“||All my life I have been evil, child. Like you. Like me. Like everyone at Groosham Grange. And (the Bishop of Bletchley) told me it was time to do good. To crush the school and kill everyone in it!||„|
|~ Mr. Helliwell to David explaining his motives|
Mr Helliwell was one of the great Voodoo magicians. He was infamous on Haiti to the point where the postman wouldn't deliver mail. Mr Helliwell eventually was hired by the board of Groosham Grange, a school for young wizards and witches.
Mr Helliwell hated the school when he first got there but had to pretend he liked it. For in reality he had been converted by the tyrannical Bishop of Bletchley, who sought to vanquish all supernatural creatures. And the staff of Groosham Grange included a vampire (John Kilgraw) two dark magicians with the same body (Mr Fitch and Mr Teagle) a dark magic sorceress who had lived for four centuries (Miss Pedicure) and a ghost named Mr Creer, as well as a werewolf named Mr LeLoup. Mr Helliwell plotted against the staff and the school and finally found the answer: To destroy the school he had to take the prize source of all magic, the Unholy Grail, and take it into the shadow of Canterbury Cathedral. He first needed a way of getting the Grail off the school without any suspicions.
Mr Helliwell first appears in the novel when David Elliot and his rival Vincent are brutally fighting in the school corridor. Mr Helliwell immediately threatens David with expulsion if he misbehaves again and momentarily scans a family letter which fell out of David's pocket before handing it back. David reflects that the worst person to come on the scene was Helliwell.
Next, Mr Helliwell appears when David has been awoken at three in the morning by an intruder who broke into the Heads' offices. Suspecting it to be Vincent, David breaks in too, but mysteriously finds the office empty. He is about to leave when he notices an open safe. Inside is the transcript of the upcoming exam. Interested, David clutches it, but is immediately accosted by the Heads, Mr Fitch and Mr Teagle, who have been awoken by Mr Helliwell himself, who was doing his rounds when he noticed someone moving downstairs into the Heads' office. Mr Helliwell shakes his head in disbelief and says he never dreamed David would have been behind this intrusion. The Heads congratulate Mr Helliwell for coming to them and dismiss him.
The next week, when the exam draws near, Mr Helliwell approaches David as he is viewing and obsessing over the Unholy Grail, locked in a cavern until Prize Giving. Mr Helliwell confides in David that he didn't really think David had broken into the safe, as he saw someone else with blond hair entering the office before David. Mr Helliwell says its David's word against Vincent, and says that if David is in trouble again, come to him, and he will help. David now feels more confident - so confident that, when Mr Helliwell (in secret, blaming this on Vincent) slips a whole page out of David's exam papers, so David will flunk, David doesn't even notice this possibility.
During the Results Day, everyone is shocked David flunked and ended up tied with Vincent in first place.
That night, a cloaked, hooded stranger (actually Mr Helliwell in disguise) hurries up to the abandoned East Tower in the school and writes an espionage letter to the Bishop of Bletchley, informing him of David's failure and how the school will soon be destroyed. The note is signed only with an X. Still disguised in his cloak, Mr Helliwell sends the note off by bat.
John Kilgraw, Deputy Head, suggests a trail of courage in London, which will be dangerous and challenging. Mr Helliwell agrees. He, John Kilgraw and Miss Pedicure explain the trail to David and Vincent - to find a "needle in a haystack" and "some needles are bigger than others." Both are instructed to find a statue of Miss Pedicure in the British Museum in London. Unbeknowest to them both, Mr Helliwell follows them both there.
David works out the fact that Miss Pedicure is an ancient Egyptian mummy and thus is why she lived so long. He finds her statuette and leaves, being disturbed by a stranger at the hallway (implied to be Mr Helliwell) but David dismisses it as a museum guard. On the way back to Regents Park, Mr Helliwell follows David and animates all the waxworks in Madame Tuassad's exhibition, which slouch after David. They almost get to him, knock him out, and Vincent takes the statuette and naturally wins.
David is angry, even angrier when John Kilgraw accuses him of cheating and being dishonest, so he goes up to the East Tower to make a point, finding the traitor's boxes of bats, books and notes, but Mr Helliwell comes and pushes him out of the tower window, almost killing David. When David heads back up, he finds Mr Helliwell has cleared all evidence, and its empty.
Mr Helliwell later attends Prize Giving, which is handed to Vincent. Then because David's parents, Edward Elliot, Eileen Elliot and her sister Mildred, come along, and because Mildred lives in Canterbury, Mr Helliwell hands her the Grail during Prize Giving, hoping she will take it to Margate, where she lives. Mr Helliwell is correct, and the Grail leaves the island. When Jill goes to the East Tower to look for Vincent, (suspecting him) Helliwell knocks her out and imprisons her, then Vincent goes in to smoke, and Helliwell too knocks him out. Then David comes in, and he is also knocked out and tied up, held hostage. To ensure they cannot use their magic, Mr Helliwell paints an Eye of Horus on the door which negates their powers. Mr Helliwell teleports from the doomed school as the natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, begin to destroy the school of Groosham Grange. The staff and students shelter in the caverns beneath the island, but the mirror gateway is smashed in half, sealing them there until the magic returns.
Meanwhile, David's parents and Mildred were removing the Grail from its true resting place, and in its agitation the Grail destroyed much of Suffolk. When the Grail turned Edward into a road hog, Eileen wished to be a thousand miles away and she ended up in China. Mildred and Edward had a bad car crash, and Mr Helliwell teleported in, to get the Grail and went to Canterbury.
David was, meanwhile, launching himself after Mr Helliwell with the last of the school's magic on a broomstick. David made it to Canterbury but crashed as the magic was almost gone. David broke some ribs and his leg, but he confronted Mr Helliwell when he had revealed himself. Helliwell revealed how he had been employed by the Church and how he wanted to destroy the supernatural because, as he was now a fundamentalist, he saw the supernatural as an affront against God. However, David launched his broomstick at Helliwell. He also explains to David that David himself was the motivator behind his plan: When David's letter fell out of his pocket in the fight, Mr Helliwell had read it and realised David's family lived near Margate - thus making it a perfect opportunity for the Elliots to deliver Helliwell the Grail en route to Margate. (Helliwell really stole the Grail from the Elliots but he wanted the Elliots to hand it to him in the original plan.) Helliwell ducked but saw the cathedral shadow was no longer in place because David had sliced off the tower with his broomstick. So the school wasn't destroyed. Mr Helliwell could only snarl before the tower came crashing down on his head, killing him.
Described as "one of the best, greatest Voodoo magicians", Mr Helliwell could be very charming and likeable when he needed to be, hiding his monstrous nature with an effective, businesslike charm. He was almost like a father figure to David, which made Helliwell's treachery even more disturbing. If he had a weakness, Mr Helliwell's was being easily swayed by others, because he was a strict Voodoo practitioner until he became a Christian when the Bishop of Bletchley persuaded him to eradicate the paranormal and that everything paranormal was evil, Mr Helliwell believed him after awhile and became a fanatical follower despite practising magic himself.