What’s your first Yorkshire memory? What’s your favourite part of the county – and why? Crikey, that’s a tough one. It would have to be the terrace streets of Birdwell, near Barnsley, and playing on the “backs”. I loved my childhood there.
As a South Yorkshire lad I would say the hills of Sheffield out past Loxley and Bradfield, which are underrated, probably due to how close they are to the Derbyshire Peaks. However, they’re just as impressive and magnificent as anything Derbyshire has to offer.
What’s your idea of a perfect day or a perfect weekend out in Yorkshire? You’ll hear me singing the praises of Sheffield all the time – and with very good reason – but me and the wife also love a weekend in Leeds shopping, eating and staying overnight. You can’t beat Restaurant Bar and Grill for a child-free weekend meal.
Do you have favourite walk – or view? Make your way up Ringinglow Road in Sheffield, looking back over the city below. I love to run up there and look back over the city and its Victorian suburbs. It always amazes me how such a big city can be so close to such beautiful countryside. That’s one of the things that Sheffield is most famous for, of course, and it’s a reputation it truly deserves.
Which Yorkshire sportsman, past or present, would you like to take lunch? David Hirst. He’s a Barnsley lad who went on to play for Sheffield Wednesday and was also capped three times at senior level for the England team. I could mention that I once lost to the boxer Prince Naz at table tennis too. We then had lunch and I sat next to Marty Pellow of Wet Wet Wet fame.
Which Yorkshire stage or screen star, past or present, would you like to take to dinner? I would probably choose Sheffield’s Michael Palin. There’s some much you could talk about from the Monty Python days, through to his great movie career and then his travel documentaries that have taken him around the world and to such interesting places. But if I could take David Hirst with me I would invite Sean Bean so we could rip him about Sheffield United’s current plight!
If you had to name your Yorkshire ‘hidden gem’ what would it be? I will be boring and say Sheffield. As a city, visitors rarely get past Meadowhall which is a real pity because Sheffield is a great blend of past and present. Our head office is based at Kelham Island which is the birthplace of the city’s great industrial heritage and is now being rediscovered. And it’s so close to the city centre with its great theatres, galleries, bars and restaurants. Of course, any city is only as good as its people and Sheffield people are among the finest.
What do you think gives Yorkshire its unique quality? It was designed by God. And look what a great job he did! There’s such diversity about this great county from the hills surrounding Sheffield to the great Yorkshire moors and then on to the coast and places like Scarborough and Whitby. I can’t really think of any other county in the country that offers such a great range. It’s a great county to grow up in and it’s a great place for you and your family to live your life in.
Do you follow sport in the county and, if so, what? Football, of course, and Sheffield Wednesday most of all. I like to see all the local teams – even Sheffield United – but they come after Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster.
Do you have a favourite restaurant or pub? I love Nonna’s on Ecclesall Road in Sheffield, and especially their sausage pasta with a glass of Sangiovese! I also like the Florentine in Sheffield if we’re with the kids and Pointing Dog for an adults night. My all-time favourite is the Milestone at Kelham Island, right next door to the office.
Do you have a favourite food shop? I would have to choose the award-winning Rob Royd farm shop in Worsborough, near Barnsley. It was designed by us but sadly it’s not in Sheffield... yet!
If you had to change one thing in, or about, Yorkshire, what would it be? Nothing at all. You can’t improve on what we already have and I wouldn’t want to try. It is why it is and that’s why it’s great.
Who is the Yorkshire person that you most admire? I have a few “older” clients I admire as people and businessmen. I’m not going to pick one of them just in case I offend any of the others. On the wider scale, Yorkshire has produced so many great names over the centuries. I really would struggle to say which one I most admire. Yorkshire is simply a breeding ground for fantastic talent.
Name your favourite Yorkshire book/author/artist/CD/performer.? I recommend that you look up a very talented 17-year-old musician called Chanel Yates. She’s my best friend’s daughter, a singer-songwriter who I really do believe has a great future ahead of her. She has a great distinctive sound.
If a stranger to Yorkshire only had time to visit one place, it would be? Sheffield of course. And I would bore him to death with all my anecdotes, stories and stats, proving what a great city it is.