The news that Channel 4 had selected Leeds as its new headquarters, bringing high level programming and creative decision-making to the region, was extremely welcome.
Withing 24 hours of my standing with those who made this momentous event happen atop the Platform building in Leeds I was in the grand surroundings of National Railway Museum for the Yorkshire Post’s Excellence in Business Awards, in which we celebrated the best that our region has to offer.
The feel good factor was palpable at every stage and it was great to see so much of what we have achieved as a region celebrated by not only us but the likes of Sir Kier Starmer and all those in attendance.
Reflecting as the start of another week gets underway I could not help but feel that the overriding theme throughout all of this positivity and achievement came down to one thing, collaboration.
The Leeds City Region bid to bring Channel 4 to the region was, frankly, a tour de force from start to finish.
I spend much of my time writing about the need for a common mayor for our region and for leadership to emerge to take us to an exciting new era. While we may not have the former we certainly had the latter, and in spades.
The case made by the Leeds Local Enterprise Partnership was a winning proposition that Channel 4’s chief executive told me was one which massively excited them.
Under the leadership of the LEP’s chairman Roger Marsh we now have a situation wherein within a few months the broadcaster will be making top level decisions from Leeds.
By 2023 the flagship Channel 4 News programme will be being broadcast simultaneously from London and Leeds.
He was handed massive support from civic leaders across the patch. It was fantastic to see the likes of Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchliffe and York Council leader Ian Gillies as enthused by the win as the likes of Judith Blake and Tom Riordan in Leeds. They all worked hand in hand to win a prize which will herald a new era of broadcasting in Yorkshire and one that will allow this region’s voice, accent and all, to reach a national and international audience.
Best of all was the way the bid’s leaders brought in the expertise of our own fantastic creative industries. The likes of Screen Yorkshire and True North were front and centre of the process, demonstrating to the broadcaster’s board that we not only have a vibrant creative sector here, but that we have the potential to massively enhance the industry here, and along with it Channel 4.
This was a great win and one I hope will set a template for future successes.
At our awards evening many more success stories were celebrated, most movingly to the late, great Barry Dodd, whose time in business resulted in a massive boost to the prosperity of the region he loved so much and he achieved so much by working with others to share ideas and knowledge to make life better for us all.
His friend and colleague David Kerfoot and his wife Frances paid an emotional tribute to Barry that brought the whole room to its feet. His legacy will live on for years.
I have worked as a journalist in Yorkshire for more than 20 years now.
A huge part of the role is in holding power to account and ensuring information concerning the public interest is published.
However in the more than 10 years I have been at the YP I have believed fervently that we must also help champion not only what Yorkshire needs but what it has, to the region and to the world.
As any business person worth their salt knows, it is inordinately harder to build a house from the inside than it is to throw rocks from the outside.
The will and effort it takes to make a success of something is considerable. Often it comes at a heady price but nothing worth having comes with any degree of simplicity.
This week we can all be very proud.
And naysayers be damned.