David Parkin on the end of a quest, Pickles at Convive and hunting for bunting

David Parkin on the end of a quest, Pickles at Convive and hunting for bunting

HE did it. I’ve featured the story of football fan Ed Wood here before. Last August he set out on a quest to break the world record he first set 25 years ago for going to a match at every league ground in England and Wales in the shortest possible time during a season. And last Saturday just before 5pm at Rochdale he broke the record. Well actually he smashed it. The previous record was 237 days and Ed’s new record is 189 days. It is an amazing achievement which has seen him take a four month sabbatical from his job with Lloyds Banking Group, travel 22,000 miles and spend thousands of pounds of his own money. In the process he’s raised a lot of money for Prostate Cancer UK and met up with many old friends and made lots of new ones as he has traversed the country visiting 93 football grounds – the 92 grounds in the Premier League and Football League plus Berwick Rangers’ ground, which is in England even though they play in the Scottish league. I was fortunate to join him at two of the matches, the first at Rotherham and the second at Derby County, the club we both support, when they beat bitter rivals Nottingham Forest 3-0 last December. It was memorable for more than just the win – it was probably the last time Derby played well, but that’s our problem. At Rochdale on Saturday Ed, a self-confessed statto who created spreadsheets and algorithms to help his quest, was joined by more than 30 friends, family and supporters, including a chap...
David Parkin on doing business at a beer festival and busting the cosmetic surgery myth

David Parkin on doing business at a beer festival and busting the cosmetic surgery myth

IT’S beer festival season and the latest craze in business circles is a corporate afternoon at a festival. This basically consists of accountants, lawyers and property professionals cramming into the venue for a few hours drinking and socialising before they let the riff raff in. This is done not because these two different groups wouldn’t mix comfortably, it appears to me it is for health and safety reasons. You see business people in their off-duty mufti opt for tweed and quilted jackets and they, when combined with the fishermen’s knits and anoraks favoured by the CAMRA real ale crowd, could spark a flammable situation. I’d never been invited to Ilkley before so was keen to see what all the fuss was about. My invite came from Leeds firm Progeny Corporate Law and wasn’t so much prompted by wanting my influential and entertaining presence as the fact that since I gatecrashed their Christmas do I’ve considered myself part of their team. Every year on a Friday afternoon in February, a large proportion of the Leeds business and advisory community board trains for Ilkley and head for the King’s Hall. It is the business equivalent of swallows heading south for the winter, or to create a more realistic image for you: herds of bison tramping across the grasslands of the American West in search of fertile grazing. It was indeed an extravaganza of tweed and quilted jackets, which made me pleased I’d opted for a rather cool herringbone jacket and body warmer combo. A couple of comments asking whether the two were actually one garment were, I concluded, driven by jealousy....
David Parkin on a big night out for dealmakers, memories of The Moorside and The Last Word on Sir Ken

David Parkin on a big night out for dealmakers, memories of The Moorside and The Last Word on Sir Ken

WHEN we devised (it sounds so much more strategic than ‘came up with’) the Big Ticket event it was in response to plaintive wails from corporate financiers. Unlike some sectors of the business and finance world, dealmakers are a sociable and lively crowd who tend towards camaraderie rather than backbiting. They moaned that the awards events they attended were dull affairs – black tie, boring speeches, bland three course meals and far too many egos claiming awards with very little justification. So the challenge was set. Could we come up with an alternative? Could we also, very importantly, make sure it gave something back to the community in which this influential crowd operate? Last Thursday saw the launch of the Big Ticket, aimed at bringing together corporate finance and business talent and serving up street food, live music, relaxed conversation and plenty of personality at a great venue, the Belgrave Music Hall in Leeds. Whether wearing a suit or jeans, dealmakers came together for a great night out and to raise lots of money for a fantastic charity in Yorkshire. Belfast band Disco Beard got the audience going with their energetic approach and a unique ability to segway from Beatles classics to modern pop. Yorkshire’s corporate finance community is renowned for its talent and personality. From management buyouts to multi-billion pound global deals, the region’s advisers and funders add huge value and make the difference for their clients. The sponsors who supported the event summed that up. Endless is a great Yorkshire success story – a private equity investor which started in Leeds and now operates nationally and internationally...
David Parkin on the wit and wisdom of Sir Ken Morrison

David Parkin on the wit and wisdom of Sir Ken Morrison

THEY don’t make them like Sir Ken Morrison any more. Well not that I can see. He may have been 85, but the death of the Knight of the Supermarket Aisles this week came as a shock. He just seemed like he could go on forever, a never-ending font of common sense and bluff Yorkshire humour. The tributes to him have been many and very well deserved. I found myself sitting in a broom cupboard at the BBC in Leeds on Wednesday being interviewed on Five Live’s Drive programme about a man who I was very fortunate to meet on several occasions. I was then on Liz Green’s Radio Leeds breakfast show the following morning and on both the challenge was distilling down the many great stories and memories that define a truly great grocer. How could I do justice in just a few sentences to the achievements of a man who started working on his parents’ egg and butter stall in Bradford and grew it into Britain’s fourth largest supermarket chain? When you met him it was difficult to reconcile that here was a man who was the richest person in Yorkshire worth an estimated £1.5bn who had more in common with Ronnie Barker’s grocer Arkwright from the Open All Hours sitcom than billionaires like Philip Green. Wandering around stores on impromtu visits, Sir Ken would feel the fruit to check it was ripe enough, rearrange the teabags and root around in the bins to check nothing was being wasted. He once gave me a tour of a store in his home city of Bradford and proudly pointed...