Former Yorkshire and England cricketer Geoffrey Boycott – considered by some to be the greatest living Yorkshireman – is returning to live in the county after a seven-year absence.
Boycott, 72, and his wife Rachael have bought Boston Hall, a £1.75m Georgian mansion in the village of Boston Spa, near Wetherby.
Since 2006, the Boycotts have divided their time between their residences in Jersey and South Africa, staying in a flat in the centre of Leeds on their occasional visits to Yorkshire.
However, the pull of home, the desire to be closer to their family and friends and Yorkshire County Cricket Club, where Boycott is president and his wife actively involved in the club’s 150th anniversary celebrations, allied to the constant treadmill of travelling, has compelled a return to their Yorkshire roots.
Speaking from New Zealand, where he is commentating on England’s three-match Test series that starts in Dunedin tomorrow night, Boycott explained the decision to come back to the county. “After my cancer of the tongue in 2002, once in remission we went to live in Jersey for my health, not tax reasons,” he said.
“While we love everything about the island, the scenery, the people and the way of life, the extra flying back and forth has been tiring and time consuming.
“We want to be nearer to our daughter, Emma, who has just qualified as a lawyer, other family members, our friends and Yorkshire cricket.”
The Boycotts have not had a permanent base in Yorkshire since selling Pear Tree Farm in the village of Woolley, near Wakefield.
Boycott bought the luxurious 200-year-old converted farmhouse in December 1979 with former lover Anne Wyatt, who moved to a new home in Dorset in 1998.
Since 2006, the Boycotts have spent much of their time in the Channel Islands or, during the winter, in South Africa at an exclusive property near Cape Town.
However, it is the sapping summer schedule of travelling to and from England and Jersey that will be eased by the purchase of Boston Hall, a Grade II listed building that dates back to 1807.
The Boycotts will look to sell their Jersey residence once they have moved back to Yorkshire in the summer.
They reportedly spent £1.2m on the property in 2006, which features eight bedrooms, an indoor swimming pool and three gardens.
Boston Hall, marketed by Harrogate-based Strutt & Parker, is situated in the centre of Boston Spa, which has a population of around 6,000.
For many years, the mansion has been head office of the Ogden Group, but planning permission has been obtained to convert it into a residential property.
Built of dressed stone under a slate roof, Boston Hall boasts six bedrooms, five reception rooms, large sash windows throughout and rolling gardens surrounded by a large terrace.
In addition, herbaceous beds and semi-mature trees offer a substantial degree of privacy.
It is a world away from No.45 Milton Terrace, Fitzwilliam, where Boycott grew up in a two-storey Coal Board terrace house.
Boston Hall is a rarefied retreat and will afford him easy access to Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s Headingley headquarters, where he is about to embark on his second year as Yorkshire president.
Boycott’s first year at the helm could hardly have gone better, coinciding with promotion back to Division One of the County Championship.