KCOM vans renamed to honour Hull legends
Sporting greats, local legends and towering historical figures are all being honoured as KCOM unveils the results of a poll to name its vans after famous Hull folk.
It’s not all glamour being Michelle Dewberry.
Yes, there are the businesses, the media work, the national newspaper column, the appearances on Question Time and Sky News – but what the gossip columns don’t see is Michelle away from the spotlight.
They didn’t see her playing on Cleethorpes Beach with her family at the weekend – or taking her niece to the McDonald’s drive-through in Hull wearing just her pyjamas.
“Honestly, the day I spent on Cleethorpes beach was the best day I’ve had all year,” says the 37-year-old former Apprentice winner.
“I’m much happier going to McDonald’s drive-through in my pyjamas than I am hanging about in some swanky wine bar in London,” laughs the down to earth TV personality, who admits she’s had to borrow her mum’s tights to look smart for the day. “It’s much more me.”
“Spending time with my family is the most important thing in the world to me,” she adds.
“My dream scenario is to spend more time in Hull and have babies of my own here. That’s my ambition. I’m actually looking for a house in Hull now. I need to be in London for my work at the moment, but I keep trying to convince Sky to open an office in Hull, that would be the perfect solution.”
Despite having demands on her time in London, Michelle is back on home turf today to talk to youngsters from the Hull Children’s University.
Some of the youngsters in the group, who are part of the university’s Children In Care programme, haven’t had the easiest of starts in life and their stories are ones Michelle, who suffered domestic violence growing up, can identify with.
Today they’re taking part in an Ambassadors programme, in KCOM’s Learning Zone on Carr Lane, where they are learning about famous figures from Hull’s past and present. On a list of famous Hull ambassadors on the wall, Michelle comes in at number eight, beneath the likes of Amy Johnson and William Wilberforce, but above comedian Lucy Beaumont.
“I really wanted to do this because I understand what these kids have gone through and what challenges they have had to face. I can relate to their stories,” she says.
“I feel very, very strongly about trying to help people, particularly young people who are struggling through adversity.
“Hopefully they’ll look at me and see someone who has come from the same place as they have; has struggled with adversity but has managed to get through it.
“I want them to know that biography doesn’t equal destiny,” she says.
“If you look around the kids in the room there’s so much talent in there. They’re all as bright as a button, it’s just about letting them know they can aspire to be whatever they want to be.
“Actually, they’re all really cute. I’d quite like to adopt them all and take them home with me.”
With thoughts of aspiration on her mind, Michelle is considering setting up an event in Hull called Aspire, which would bring together as many successful business people, artists and famous sons and daughters of the city as possible.
She believes such an event should be created as part of the 2017 City of Culture programme, while Hull is in the national spotlight, and openly admits she would love to be more involved in the 2017 celebrations.
“I have offered my services,” she says. “I think it would be nice to get people who have come from the city involved.
“We should have an event where as many successful people from Hull could be brought onto the stage as possible to talk about their journeys and to inspire kids that they can do something with their lives.”
Michelle herself is a shining example of someone who has “done something” with her life.
Even before winning the second series of Alan Sugar’s business reality show The Apprentice in 2006, she had already established herself as a successful IT entrepreneur in her own right.
But before that, the young Michelle says the summit of her ambition had been to work for KCOM.
“When I was growing up I really wanted to work for KCOM, that was my plan,” she grins.
“I got a job in the call centre in the Prospect Centre and I had big plans to be a manager here – and now I’m back in the KCOM office inspiring kids. It’s a weird full circle but it’s a huge privilege.”