What’s your first Yorkshire memory? As a Windsor born lad I remember thinking how strange that there were people up North eating a hot pork pie and “sloppy” peas. It wasn’t a culinary delight we had ever had the pleasure of tasting.
What’s your favourite part of the county and why? West Yorkshire. We travel around the world, so when we come back home we spend a lot of time in and around our Holmfirth base. It’s the bit I know the best and why would you look elsewhere? There is everything you need right here.
What’s your idea of a perfect day, or a perfect weekend, in Yorkshire? Switching off all mobile devices putting up an umbrella, turning on the sunshine and drinking a few beers whilst watching cricket in the shade. Very early on in the business I realised that we had to export. A big part of that involves travelling to major trade exhibitions overseas which means both Nicola and I are away from home quite a bit. The chance to turn the mobile off and enjoy the slow steady pace of cricket with my family is heaven on earth.
Which Yorkshire sportsman, past or present, would you like to take for lunch? Nicola Adams. She is a fantastic, enthusiastic, talented sportswoman who has overcome so much. Unlike male boxers, female boxers can’t turn professional which is great for our Olympic medal hopes, but incredibly tough on her career aspirations. I would love to meet her.
Which Yorkshire stage or screen star, past or present, would you like to take for dinner? Dame Judi Dench, she’s a fabulous actress and can convince any audience with her compelling and emotive ability. I’m thrilled she has continued to reinvent herself for contemporary audience I love her in all the recent Bond films and of course Mrs Brown.
What do you think gives Yorkshire its unique identity? The people – they are brutally honest. I’m a stickler for perfection. It’s how we’ve grown the brand into one of the top three manufacturers in the world. Yet a lot of our business still comes from the local brass band community and artists such as Dennis Rollins, a Doncaster lad who fronts the Velocity Trio. If it isn’t right they tell you and that’s the way I want it.
If you had to name your Yorkshire hidden gem, what would it be? Holmfirth’s Picturedrome. It’s a great venue and good for local business. Budding talent relies on having a local venue to get their break. Venues like the Holmfirth Picturedrome are perfect. They give a stage and an audience to young musicians and attract bigger artists who want to connect with smaller audiences. When it isn’t being used for entertainment it’s a fantastic venue for local businesses and plays a really important role in keeping communities alive.
Do you have a favourite walk or view? Holme Moss, the Holme Valley and Holmfirth. When you get up to the tops the views on all sides are stunning. It’s no surprise they took the Tour de France there when the Grand Départ was in Yorkshire two years ago.
Do you follow sport in the county and if so, what? Cricket – relaxing and really British. What more could you want?
Do you have a favourite restaurant or pub? The Mustard and Punch, Honley and Farmer’s Boy in Shepley. Both pubs serve incredible food with fantastic customer service. Combined it gives anyone and everyone a real warm Yorkshire welcome.
Do you have a favourite food shop? J Brindon Addy Butchers Shop, Holmfirth. The team are proper butchers and source delicious meat. They also know they are competing with supermarkets so come up with some great seasonal cuts and recipe ideas. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a roast beef and Yorkshire pud fan like we are or prefer barbecues, they always have a great choice and some brilliant ideas served with a smile.
Who is the Yorkshire person you most admire? Not one person, but all the young men and women who have given their lives or have suffered terrible injuries or disabilities at war. Their sacrifice on the frontline has ensured that we can live comfortable lives back home in Yorkshire. That, I think, is priceless.
If a stranger to Yorkshire only had to visit one place, where would it be? Salts Mill and Saltaire Village built by Titus Salt. He was an innovator both industrially and in the way he thought about his workers. He understood that they needed to have homes with 19th century comforts. He was a great example of 19th century industrialism and philanthropy.
How do you think Yorkshire has changed, for better or worse? In Holmfirth not a great deal changes, that’s the big attraction. It’s traditional with some lovely people and just a great place to live.