My Yorkshire: Bob Bowman, CEO of the Leeds Rhinos Foundation

What's your first Yorkshire memory? I have so many due to parents who exposed us to so much travel. But impromptu cricket matches at Brimham Rocks following a picnic and rock scrambling with family and friends stands out!

What’s your favourite part of the county – and why? The Yorkshire Dales. It packs a real punch and is truly spectacular throughout all the seasons.

What’s your idea of a perfect day, or a perfect weekend, out in Yorkshire? A long walk out in the Yorkshire countryside with my family and our beloved Hungarian vizsla, Freddie, a couple of beers on the way home for a family meal.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Do you have a favourite walk – or view? The Three Peaks. I have walked it many times, even run it on some 
occasions. It’s a good test of fitness, has brilliant views, always something new to see and the most well-earned pint, or two, afterwards.

Which Yorkshire sportsman, past or present, would you like to take for lunch? It’s a man from Harehills in Leeds who went by the name of Eric Beard. “Beardie” dominated the Northern fell running scene for years and his endeavours took a long time to be surpassed. He worked tirelessly for charity, helped many a vulnerable youngster and passed away in 1969, never truly gaining the credit he deserved.

Which Yorkshire stage or screen star, past or present, would you like to take for dinner? Judi Dench. She has been excellent in everything she has appeared in. Dinner would be a great opportunity to ask her how she kept control of James Bond!

If you had to name your Yorkshire ‘hidden gem’, what would it be? Ingleborough Cave. It’s a lovely walk from Clapham via the Reginald Farrer Trail and then you enter a world that takes you back millions of years.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

If you could choose somewhere, or some object, from or in Yorkshire to own for a day, what would it be? Leeds City Library. Then I would try get every child who has never been to give it a visit. As JK Rowling once said: “When in doubt, go to the library.”

What do you think gives Yorkshire its unique identity? Great natural beauty. Honest down to earth people. History and heritage around every corner. The best fish and chips in the world. Amazing beers.

Do you follow sport in the county, and if so, what? Rugby league and the Leeds Rhinos (Leeds RL before 1996). Their success since 2004 is amazing but the history of club since its inception is a journey of great deeds, great people and massively connected to the community. The power of this is seen day to day through the Leeds Rhinos Foundation.

Do you have a favourite restaurant, or pub? Salvos in Headingley is superb and has been for a very long time. It is part of the Bowman family DNA as is the Junction at Otley – you’ll not get a better pint of Timothy Taylors.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Do you have a favourite food shop? Along with my wife Steph, I shop every Saturday morning down at Leeds Kirkgate Market for our veg, meat, fish and eggs.

How do you think that Yorkshire has changed, for better or for worse, in the time that you’ve known it? Very much for the better. It really is a place known around the world and is attracting more visitors than I can ever remember. It is the jewel of the North in many ways and has certainly made the South sit up and take notice.

If you had to change one thing in, or about Yorkshire, what would that be? I am disappointed that the talk of a Northern Powerhouse seems to be so much quieter. I think an elected mayor for Yorkshire would not only help nationally but also internationally. People from Yorkshire are ambitious but also realistic. They have gone through a lot over the years and those experiences could be channelled via a mayor for the good of the county as a whole.

Who is the Yorkshire person that you most admire? My late father Ron, a proud, hardworking, fair and intelligent Yorkshireman. He taught me things, and told me off, right up to his final days and made me appreciate that tolerance, empathy and listening are key.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Has Yorkshire influenced your work? I am proud to have served West Yorkshire Police for 29 years and fully enjoyed working with, and gaining the trust of, such a wonderfully diverse Leeds community. Our aim at the Foundation is “To Change Lives Through Sport” and we have to be honest that there are many people in Leeds and Yorkshire who deserve that extra bit of help for them to be the best they can be.

Name your favourite Yorkshire book/author/artist/CD/performer.?I was captivated by the book No Way But Gentlenesse, by Richard Hines, brother of Kestrel for a Knave author Barry. It is a superb book and makes you realise we need to connect with nature and our family much more.

If a stranger to Yorkshire only had time to visit one place, it would be? Malham. If they walked from the village up to the top of the cove, then on to the tarn, returning via Gordale Scar and Janet’s Foss, then their life would be so much richer.