St. Mary's Principal hosts evening with Alan Johnson MP
The St. Mary’s College Principal was the host when Labour politician turned award-winning author Alan Johnson visited Merseyside for an ‘in conversation’ evening last week. Mike Kennedy was invited to quiz the former Home Secretary at the event which was held at Springfield Court Nursing Home in Aughton.
The evening was organised by the owner of the home and former St. Mary’s Art Teacher, Colin Wilkinson, who organises regular talks and musical performances for residents and invited guests, including on this occasion West Lancashire MP, Rosie Cooper. The event began with a 45-minute interview which touched on a wide range of subjects, from the MP’s views on grammar schools to his Merseyside family connection. The BBC TV This Week regular then took questions from the audience, before guests retired to the dining room to enjoy a three-course meal.
During the evening the member for Hull West and Hessle also signed copies of his childhood memoir - This Boy - which has won a number of awards including the Orwell Prize, the country’s top honour for political writing. The follow-up to this best-selling book - Please Mr Postman - was published in September this year.
As the titles of his books indicate, Alan Johnson is a big Beatles fan, and the Springfield Court evening ended with a performance of Fab Four favourites and other well-known songs from former St. Mary’s College pupil, soprano Rachael Russell.
Commenting on the event, Mike Kennedy said, “I was very honoured to be asked to perform this Michael Parkinson-type role, especially as the subject of the evening is one of our most interesting and well-liked politicians. As Alan’s mother was from Liverpool, he clearly has an affinity with this area and the audience enjoyed his family reminiscences, as well as his thought-provoking observations on politics past and present. All in all it was an excellent evening, and I would like to congratulate Colin Wilkinson on organising this and similar events which I am sure are very much appreciated by his residents and invited guests.”
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