Inspiring life stories to be told in magnificent setting of Holy Trinity Church

A unique opportunity is being offered to hear first-hand the extraordinary life stories of Hull MP Alan Johnson and the Director of the Royal Ballet in the magnificent setting of the city’s Holy Trinity Church.

 Holy Trinity is hosting “An Evening With” events with the former Government minister and ex-Hull school pupil Kevin O’Hare who rose to take charge of Britain’s best-known ballet company.

The intimate events are being held to raise funds towards the £4.5m Holy Trinity development project which will transform facilities at the 700-year-old church.

The first event will be on Friday, July 8, at 7pm when Alan Johnson will be interviewed by BBC Radio Humberside presenter David Burns. “Burnsy” will be talking to Mr Johnson on a personal level about his remarkable life, from growing up in poverty in west London, through his progress from postman to trade unionist and, ultimately, Member of Parliament for Hull West and Hessle and Government minister holding down some of the highest offices of state.

Mr Johnson’s early life story has been told in his extraordinary autobiographies, “This Boy”, “Please, Mr Postman” and “Left Standing”. Now people in Hull can hear Mr Johnson talk compellingly and directly about his early life, overcoming the death of the mother while still a young boy and being cared for by his teenage older sister, and how he reached the heart of the establishment as Home Secretary.

On Thursday, July 14, at 7pm well-known local media presenter and master of ceremonies Blair Jacobs will host an evening with Kevin O’Hare. Blair will explore with Mr O’Hare what motivated him at the age of 11 to pursue a career in ballet and his journey from St Charles Roman Catholic Primary School in Hull to becoming Director of The Royal Ballet.

Mr O’Hare is one of the unheralded success stories that Hull tends to produce. The son of Northern Irish parents who ran a local pub, Kevin and his brother Michael followed their sister to dance lessons in Hull. The boys turned out to be hugely talented, were admitted to the Royal Ballet School and both went on to have highly successful professional dance careers. Michael is now the Senior Ballet Master at the Birmingham Royal Ballet, while Kevin, as Director of the Royal Ballet, has one of the most important jobs in British dance and works with many of the world’s greatest ballet dancers. 

The Vicar of Holy Trinity, the Reverend Canon Dr Neal Barnes, said: “We’re so grateful to Alan and Kevin for giving their time to tell their remarkable life stories in such a magnificent setting and for supporting our exciting vision for the transformation of Holy Trinity.

“We’re sure these evenings will give the audience an unforgettable insight into two truly inspirational individuals who have achieved so much from humble beginnings.

“We would also like to thank our hosts David Burns and Blair Jacobs for bringing their expertise to these occasions. We’re sure they will help to bring Alan and Kevin’s amazing stories to life and enable members of the audience to understand how they have reached the forefront of their chosen careers.”

Each evening will feature a question and answer session with the guests, enabling members of the audience to pose the questions they have always wanted to ask to two extraordinary personalities who share a passion for the city that has been such an important part of their lives.

Tickets for the “an evening with” events, which will feature interval entertainment, are priced at just £10 and are available from Hull Box Office – – or from Holy Trinity’s Parish Centre in Trinity Square. For more information or ticket enquiries, please contact Holy Trinity Fund-raising Officer Jonny Bottomley on 01482 224460 or e-mail

Holy Trinity is England’s largest parish church and Hull’s finest grade one listed building. The church’s development project will enable Holy Trinity to replace outdated and inadequate facilities, become much more accessible to the community and host a wider range of cultural and social events. It will also create new income streams to secure a long-term sustainable future for the church as a spectacular, vibrant and welcoming place of worship and community use.

The development project includes works currently under way to unite the grounds of the church with the redeveloped Trinity Square, which is one of the key areas being renovated under the multi-million pounds transformation of the public realm in Hull city centre.