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The Corporation

Posted: 12/03/14

Media students quiz reverend

Media students at West Nottinghamshire College put their interviewing and filming skills to the test last week when they quizzed a local vicar about his forty-day food fast.

Jack Mannix interviews Reverend Dr Keith Hebden in the Create television studio

Headline-making Reverend Dr Keith Hebden, vicar at St Mark’s Church in Mansfield, has attracted much national media attention through his decision to give up not just rich food – but all food – for the forty-day lent period, typically observed by Christians.

Reverend Dr Hebden, 38, has decided to fast until 17 April to highlight the number of people who live in food poverty in the UK. The intention of his fasting is to highlight the crisis of hunger in the UK. Over half a million people accessed food banks in the last year and there are more people being admitted to hospital with malnourishment.

Jack Mannix, who is a presenter of Gogglebox Live – the online television show produced by students – interviewed Keith at the Create television studio on Friday (7 March), which is just a mile away from Keith’s church, asking him his reasons for giving up food for such a long period and how he was feeling just three days into the fast, which sees him drink just water and one glass of fruit juice per day.

Keith has sought medical advice before embarking on the fast, which he’s taking part in as part of the national End Hunger Fast campaign – the drive to highlight the issue of food poverty and the rise of food banks. He is encouraging others to sign up to the campaign which has included forty-three Christian leaders signing a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron.

The reverend and fellow Christian leaders have addressed several issues in the letter which they feel passionate about.  They wish to highlight a need for a welfare system that works for the most vulnerable and the issue of people who earn the minimum wage leaving them financially vulnerable and unable to afford to buy food.

Thirdly, the campaign is urging the Government to look closely at the steep rise in food prices. In the last five years the price of food has risen by 30.5%.

After his television interview by students, the reverend said: “The students were very professional and conducted the interview and the technical aspects really well and I enjoyed their questions.

“I’ve been interviewed about my campaign on ITV’s Daybreak, ITV News, Sky News, BBC News and radio but never in a studio set up so it was good to experience this. I can easily see the students working in similar professions in the future.”

Tutor Michael Rhodes said: “We always aim to line up a range of interesting guests for students to practice both interviewing techniques and their filming and editing studies on, so to have a local guest such as Reverend Keith who has also made national headlines, this was a very worthwhile experience for the students.”