Business Diary: October 23

Chris Fry and family
Chris Fry and family
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FOR Leeds United fans, his name brings back memories of a golden era when the club walked tall among the giants of football.

Former Leeds United captain Dominic Matteo has joined Levi Solicitors as a sports law ambassador, as the Leeds-based law firm develops a department which specialises in providing advice to the sportsmen – and women – of the future.

Matteo’s career spanned 15 years at the highest level. After eight years with Liverpool, he joined Leeds United in 2000 where he soon attained hero status, scoring one of the club’s most memorable goals against AC Milan at the San Siro during their wonderful run in the UEFA Champions League that year.

He left Leeds United in 2004, and after spells at Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City retired in 2007. Matteo still has strong links with Leeds and the club itself and writes a weekly column for our sister paper, the Yorkshire Evening Post.

Night to remember

WHILE most winners at the Law Society’s annual Excellence Awards celebrate with a glass of fizz or two, Chris Fry, managing partner at Sheffield law firm Unity Law, was on the soft drinks after his wife Jackie went into labour following the news of his win.

After receiving the prestigious award in the category of Excellence in Community Investment, Mr Fry had to dash from the event at Old Billingsgate in London.

Mr Fry became a proud father to son Leo at 3.40am after driving home to Sheffield through the night.

Law Society president Lucy Scott-Moncrieff said: “On behalf of the Law Society, I congratulate Chris on the new addition to his family as well as on his firm’s award at our Excellence Awards.

“A lion is represented on the Law Society crest, so it is very fitting that Chris and his wife have chosen to name their son Leo.

“Perhaps a career as a solicitor beckons for the new member of the Fry family, or even a stint as Law Society President.”

The awards judges said they were impressed by the Unity’s community investment initiatives based on their expertise in supporting the rights of disabled people.

Peak of achievement

Every week Diary is inundated with emails about business people who have done great deeds for charity.

We’d love to print all of them, but sadly, space doesn’t allow this.

However, Diary feels a special mention in dispatches should go to the staff from the Barclays Bank business team in Bradford, who defied the weather and some terrible injuries to complete the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. They also raised more than £1,300 for Heart Research UK.

The team faced obstacles that would have made hardened polar explorers turn back. A twisted knee, a fractured leg and an instruction to abandon the walk couldn’t stop the tough Bradfordians.

The group – Amir Akhtar, Nick Aldridge, Mohammad Atif, Philip Middlebrough and Karen Murphy – set off up Pen-y-ghent in calm weather but the conditions deteriorated dramatically.

Mr Akhtar told Diary: “We struggled knee deep in swamps and rivers as well as mud that you couldn’t imagine, all the while being bombarded by horrific winds and torrential downpours of rain. Phil got to the top of the second mountain but twisted his knee and couldn’t continue.”

Mr Atif fell down Ingleborough twice, narrowly missing Mr Aldridge, and fractured his leg.

He bravely struggled on to the checkpoint where he was met by first aid and a support ambulance at the end of his hike, Mr Akhtar said.

At this point a decision was taken by the walkers after 17 miles to abandon the event, but Mr Akhtar and Mr Aldridge decided, after signing a waiver, to carry on in the terrible conditions.

They completed the full 25 miles – including Whernside – in 11 hours and 45 minutes. Now that’s true Yorkshire grit.

French connection

The chief executive of York-based Aviva UK Life has joined the international jet set in recent months.

David Barral normally splits his time between York and London.

Now he’s added Paris to the list, after being appointed a non-executive on the board of Aviva’s French business.

With a Gallic name like Barral, surely it’s a seamless transition?

But there’s just one problem – Mr Barral, brought up in East Kilbride, Scotland, doesn’t speak French.

Fortunately, he said, Google Translate has come to his rescue.

“It’s quite embarrassing – or humbling,” he said.