Camels bring 'crazy' nativity idea to life at Hull's Holy Trinity
IT IS a story set 2,000 years ago in a town 2,317 miles away.
Now the Nativity will be brought to life on a massive scale in Hull.
Three camels, three sheep and a donkey will be used to creative the city's first mass production of the Christmas Story.
Thousands of people are expected to descend on the city centre as Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and a procession of animals, wise men, shepherds and angels walk through the streets.
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Hull will be transformed into Bethlehem on Saturday, December 22, at noon.
And it is all thanks to Holy Trinity Church's minister, the Reverend Matt Woodcock.
"It was a crazy idea that I was just thinking out loud but I never dreamt it would ever happen," he said.
"Once I had the idea and appealed in the Mail for help to find a camel, a member of the church came back and said they had found a supplier.
"I went to Hull City Council and they were really positive about the idea and it all just spiraled from there.
"It will be a lot of fun and a very family-friendly event.
"It is definitely something a bit different."
Finding an animal supplier and getting the thumbs-up from the council to put on the event meant Matt learned the Nativity would definitely go ahead this week.
The action will begin on the balcony of Hull City Hall, where Mary will be called by the Angel Gabriel to give birth to Jesus in Bethlehem.
The procession will then move to Trinity Square, where the rest of the story will unfold.
Mick Bromby, of St Paul's Amateur Boxing Club, will play the chief shepherd, while three or four members from the club will play other shepherds.
Mick said: "We are so proud to be involved with the live nativity.
"It will help inspire our community and bring people together."
Singer Leroy Vickers will be the Angel Gabriel and his group Ti Amero will perform as angels.
The three wise men will be played by members of the local community around Holy Trinity Church, while pub landlords will play innkeepers.
Matt is just finalising who will play Mary and Joseph and is still on the lookout for a baby Jesus and Herod.
Harking back to his roots as a news reporter – his profession before joining the church – Matt will play a journalist from the Bethlehem News, who will interview Mary and Joseph about their newborn baby Jesus.
"We're not looking for a slick, polished production – none of us will be professional actors," said Matt.
"We just want it to be relaxed and fun.
"The main thing for me is getting lots of people from the community involved."
Once the procession reaches Holy Trinity Church, a nativity scene will be set up in the car park.
There, families will be able to see the animals and have their photographs taken with them.
The camels, sheep and donkey have been supplied by The Animal Company, which is based in the Peak District.
A star will be hoisted above the church by a cherry picker and communal carols will be performed by the angels.
A market will be held inside the church and the event will finish with a children's Christingle service.
Hull City Council and Hull BID have agreed to help finance the event, while the church will also be raising some money as well.
Councillor Terry Geraghty, portfolio holder for leisure and culture, said: "The nativity will be a truly festive occasion for residents and visitors to enjoy.
"It is one of a number of events taking place in the run-up to Christmas and will see more people experiencing what the Old Town has to offer."