Hull is suprise favourite UK spot of US ambassador Matthew Barzon

Hull: City of Culture 2017 packed programme of celebrations
Hull: City of Culture 2017 packed programme of celebrations
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Hull was the surprise choice of US Ambassador Matthew Barzun when asked which UK location he will remember most fondly when he returns home to Kentucky.

In his time heading the embassy in London’s Grosvenor Square, Mr Barzun has made a point of travelling the length and breadth of the country, visiting 125 towns and cities in three and a half years.

But it was the Humberside city that won his heart, rather than some of the big tourist sites that attract many more of his countrymen.

Mr Barzun told the Press Association that the attraction arose partly because Hull was the birthplace of two of his heroes - anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce and mathematician John Venn.

Venn’s famous diagram has regularly come to his aid when illustrating talks with a flip-chart and marker pen at some of the 160-plus schools he has visited across the UK as ambassador, he said.

Mr Barzun ruffled a few British feathers when he told Tatler that he had had enough of lamb and potatoes after being served it “180 times” in his first year as Ambassador to the Court of St James.

So PA gave him the opportunity to redress the balance by naming his favourite British things:

* Favourite British food: “Sticky toffee pudding is something I’m going to have to learn how to cook, because I’m hooked.”

* Favourite place in the UK: “If I had to pick one, Hull has particular resonance to me. I had a wonderful visit in Hull. William Wilberforce and what he started here and what that did to change our country. John Venn, the great British mathematician who invented the Venn diagram, which I must use five times a day.”

* Favourite football team: “At the risk of being undiplomatic, for me it’s Liverpool Football Club.”

* Favourite sporting event: “An event in a wonderful place, Hayling Island on the south coast, where I was part of 423 people who set a Guinness Book of World Records record for kite-surfing (in June 2016).”

* Favourite TV show: “I watch lots of the current ones. My absolute favourite - and it’s a bit sweary I know - is The Thick of It. I go back to that time and time again and it just makes me laugh, even though I’m fully aware that I miss a lot of the jokes as an American.”

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