My Yorkshire: Ffion Hague

FFION Hague was born in Cardiff. A native Welsh-speaker, she took her first degree, in English Literature, at Jesus College, Oxford and her second (an MPhil) at the University of Wales.

Ffion has worked as a policy civil servant, a director of a national charity and, since 2000, has been a headhunter specialising in main board appointments and board evaluation.

She holds a number of advisory positions in the commercial and not-for-profit sectors and has recently published her first book,

The Pain and the Privilege, on the women in Lloyd George's life.

Ffion is married to William Hague, the Conservative MP, and lives in Richmond, North Yorkshire.

What's your first memory of Yorkshire?

When I was at university, Jesus College choir was asked to sing at York Minster for a week over Easter. Singing evensong every day in that glorious setting was a wonderful introduction to the county.

What's your favourite part of the county and why?

North Yorkshire, my home, for its hills, dales, moors, rivers – and pubs.

What's your idea of a perfect weekend/day out in Yorkshire?

Without doubt, walking in Swaledale or Arkengarthdale.

Do you have a favourite walk, or view?

Many! For instance, the view from Kisdon Hill, looking down over

Swaledale on my favourite walk from Keld to Muker.

Which Yorkshire sportsman/woman (past or present) would you like to take for lunch?

Seb Coe. Seb is a friend and I'm lucky enough to have had lunch and dinner with him many, many times. He is always excellent company.

Which Yorkshire stage or screen star (past or present) would you like to take for lunch?

Robert Hardy. I know he's not from Yorkshire, but he is so closely associated with the Dales because of his role in All Creatures Great and Small and loves the county so much that we would have a wonderful time swapping stories.

If you had to name your Yorkshire hidden gem, what would it be?

The Forbidden Corner near Middleham. It's a special spot that's impossible to describe. Truly a unique place to visit.

What do you think gives Yorkshire its unique identity?

A strong sense of independence – which makes a Welsh girl feel instantly

at home!

Do you follow sport in the county, and if so what?

I swapped my allegiance in cricket from Glamorgan to Yorkshire when I got married – in return, William continues to support Wales at rugby (he was Secretary of State for Wales when we got engaged) so there are no arguments at home.

What about Yorkshire's cultural life?I'm a huge fan of Opera North and also a supporter of the Georgian Theatre in Richmond.

Do you have a favourite restaurant or pub?

The Station in Richmond is great, and on our doorstep, and we always look forward to a night out at the Blue Lion at East Witton.

Do you have a favourite food shop?

That would have to be Lewis & Cooper at Northallerton.

How do you think Yorkshire has changed in the time you've known it? Are those changes for the better?

I'm glad to say it hasn't changed at all – and long may it stay just as it is!

Who is the Yorkshire man or woman you most admire?

Current MPs excepted, of course! It would have to be William Wilberforce who championed the abolition of the slave trade through Parliament 200 years ago. He was a true visionary.

How has Yorkshire influenced your work?

I wrote the majority of my book in Yorkshire and never failed to be inspired by the view from the window of my study at home.

Name your favourite Yorkshire artist.

That would have to be the artist Mackenzie Thorpe, especially his

sheep portraits.

The Pain and the Privilege by Ffion Hague, 25, published by HarperCollins.