SIR GARY Verity credits his late father Geoffrey for providing the inspiration which has culminated with the tourism boss becoming Yorkshire’s latest knight of the realm.
“I did wonder, when I received the letter from the Cabinet Office, what my dad would have made it,” said the 50-year-old. “He was a very good Dad when I was growing up in Leeds. “He was a master joiner – but he was also a great sportsman. He used to take me to the rugby league, the cricket... the big one was Leeds United. He took me to Elland Road when I was old enough and we had season tickets.
“He’s the reason why sport has meant so much to me. It meant we could spend time together. When I was old enough, and became more successful, I bought the season tickets for the both of us. I always remember I had a Royal Enfield racing bike. It was second hand when I got it and it probably had a respray.
“It was tough for my Dad and my mother Jean. I couldn’t always go on school trips, but they were there for me and my bicycle was my pride and joy. Little did I know the extent to which cycling would become so important to my life. It’s been some journey – but it is not over yet.”
Given the family’s working class roots, it probably explains why this proud son of Yorkshire intends to celebrate his accolade with a fish and chip supper – washed down by a point of locally-brewed beer.