My Yorkshire: Jodie Hill of Thrive Law on surfing, Judi Dench and the best accent in the world

Jodie Hill is the founder and managing partner at Leeds-based Thrive Law. She is a mental health campaigner who has previously been awarded a fellowship with the Royal Society for Public Health in recognition of that work.

What’s your first Yorkshire memory?

Visiting my grandparents in South Yorkshire when I was at primary school and living in North Yorkshire. I always loved the trip to see them in the countryside, it’s so beautiful where they live.

What’s your favourite part of the county and why?

Jodie HillJodie Hill
Jodie Hill

I absolutely love York. I went to school over this way so spent most of my time there when growing up, it’s such a historic and beautiful city.

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend/day out in Yorkshire?

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I love the fact you can surf in Yorkshire. I love surfing and regularly go to Cayton Bay and North and South Bay in Scarborough to catch some waves.

For me, heading this way for a surf with family and friends then grabbing fish and chips afterwards (and an ice cream!) is a perfect day.

Cayton Bay with a backdrop of ScarboroughCayton Bay with a backdrop of Scarborough
Cayton Bay with a backdrop of Scarborough

Do you have a favourite walk or view?

I am a sucker for waterfalls and architecture so anywhere with waterfalls and castles.

We are spoilt in Yorkshire, there are so many. Bolton Abbey is stunning, so is Aysgarth Falls.

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Which Yorkshire stage or screen star would you like to take for dinner, and why?

Jodie HillJodie Hill
Jodie Hill

Judi Dench. She’s such an icon – I would love to ask her about the Bond films and what she thought of the various incarnations of 007!

Name your Yorkshire ‘hidden gem’.

As a kid, I used to love The Forbidden Corner in the North Yorkshire Dales. Janet’s Foss is a hidden gem, for sure.

What do you think gives Yorkshire its unique identity?

We have everything from world-renowned cities and stunning countryside to beautiful coastlines. The people are so friendly too!

Most importantly, it’s the best accent in the world.

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If you could own one thing in Yorkshire for a day, what would it be?

Whitby Abbey.

Famously the home of Dracula, it’s a Gothic masterpiece and an iconic ruin. Whitby is also a wonderful place to visit.

How do you immerse yourself in Yorkshire’s cultural life?

I am always visiting new places when they open. I try to find new places to walk each month, exploring and stumbling across a pub is definitely the thing to do in Yorkshire.

I often plan walking meetings with people to get them outside and even took my team surfing. In fact, we are all going to Filey for a long weekend in October to explore the clifftop walks and beaches.

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I also prefer taking people to Leeds Playhouse and the Grand Opera House in York rather than going to London, to show them what we have right on our doorstep.

Do you have a favourite restaurant or pub?

There is a stunning place on the canal called The Owl in Leeds.

The food and service are amazing. My favourite pub, also in Leeds, is The Greedy Duck. It has an amazing beer garden with stunning views and the Sunday dinner is next level.

For fine dining, I love The Man Behind The Curtain, the only Michelin star restaurant in Leeds. It’s a must if you are in Leeds but book in advance, it’s difficult to get in.

Do you ever find yourself “selling” Yorkshire to others?

Yes, all the time, especially the walks.

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I have dogs so it always comes up. The next question is where to have the best Sunday dinner!

The nature of my work means I’m also embedded in local business communities across Yorkshire and I get to support and see their many successes. There are fantastic brands in lots of different industries, from retailers such as Arla Foods and Asda here in Leeds, to rugby league team - Leeds Rhinos. I’d also highlight Smart Works Leeds, which supports women from a range of different backgrounds and age groups back into employment through coaching, and East Street Arts, an artist-led arts charity in the city.

Elsewhere in Yorkshire, there is H&C Whitehead, an innovative provider of textile solutions based in Brighouse, and The Secret Event Service in York, which passionately supports businesses with events and engagement.

Don’t forget, there’s also Morrisons in Bradford, Haribo in Pontefract, Nestlé in Halifax and Channel 4 in Leeds, among many others.

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Yorkshire truly is a fantastic place to set up shop and full of opportunities for anyone looking to begin their career, in law and other professional services, as well as tech, retail, events, textiles, manufacturing, TV and the arts.

How do you think Yorkshire has changed in the time you’ve known it?

I have been lucky enough to live in a range of places in Yorkshire throughout my life, from North to South but mostly in Leeds.

The city has changed so much since I came here for university in 2006.

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It’s such an amazing city – despite moving loads when I was younger, I’m still here!

I know there is a lot of work going into the surf scene in Scarborough too, to attract more people to the area as so few people know about this little surf culture. There is an amazing supportive surf community, which just keeps growing.

Has Yorkshire influenced your work?

I launched my own law firm, Thrive Law, five years ago and chose Leeds as our headquarters as I felt so at home here. Despite living in several countries when growing up, I am always drawn back to Yorkshire. It feels like home.

Name your favourite Yorkshire author/artist/performer.

Ed Sheeran.

If a stranger had time to visit only one place in the county, where would you send them?

York – there’s so much to see and do there for tourists.

What are you working on at the moment?

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I am about to launch a book and tech company (alongside Thrive Law.) We are working more in the tech space and are excited to see how we can use tech to support our team and clients.

I am also working on a change in the law in order to support people with mental health at work.

I can’t say much more at this stage other than we are very close to achieving change and I am leading the drafting of the new law!