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Hull priest has ‘crazy idea’ of using camels for live nativity

07 September 2012

by Nigel Burnham


AN ASSISTANT CURATE in Kingston upon Hull, who was ordained priest by the Archbishop of York earlier this year, is looking for three camels to star in a "live" nativity this Christmas.

The Revd Matt Woodcock had the idea of staging a nativity scene outside Holy Trinity, Hull, on 22 December, using camels for the three wise men to ride on, a star erected above the church tower, and a pregnant woman to play the part of Mary.

"I think I've already got a donkey and a horse, but tracking down a camel in East Yorkshire is proving to be a bit difficult," Mr Woodcock told the Hull Daily Mail. "It is likely to be chaotic and all over the place, but what better way for children to find out about the story of Christmas than with real animals?

"It is one of those crazy ideas that is going to take a lot of organising, but I'm completely buzzing about it. It is going to be amazing."

Mr Woodcock says that his plan is still in its formative stages, but that he hopes the three wise men will be leaving the church - in Hull's Old Town - on camels.

The nativity scene will then move around Trinity Square, with a pregnant woman, playing the part of Mary, finally "giving birth" to baby Jesus in front of the church. A star will then rise above the tower as the church bells ring.

"We want the whole community around the church to get involved," Mr Woodcock said. "We want a pub landlord to play the innkeeper, and it would be great if some of the guys from St Paul's boxing club could be Herod's men, or shepherds.

"I haven't approached him yet, but how good would it be if we could get Luke Campbell [Hull's Olympic boxing gold medallist] to dress in gold and be the Angel Gabriel?"

The event has already received the all-clear from Hull City Council, provided that health and safety requirements are met.

Mr Woodcock is urging anyone in the area who can help to make costumes, or bring animals - or produce the camels - to get in touch with him. "I've got a wager on with our church leader, Neal Barnes, that I can get a camel," he said. "I'd love to get one each for the three wise men, but if I could just get one, that would be fantastic.

"I'm determined to do it - even if I have to go to Egypt and bring one back on the plane myself."

Anyone who may be able to help is asked to tweet @revmattwoody, or email matt@holy-trinity.org.uk.

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