David Parkin freezes in London, blows up a balloon in Leeds and runs out of words

David Parkin freezes in London, blows up a balloon in Leeds and runs out of words

A TRIP to London last weekend underlined the gulf that now exists between certain parts of the capital and the rest of the country. Spend some time walking the streets of Knightsbridge, Mayfair or Kensington and you see plenty of examples of what now makes modern London. From Kazakh billionaires sipping Coca-cola at a pavement cafe near Harrods to well groomed hedge fund managers unloading Louis Vuitton luggage from their supercars outside a gleaming hotel, parts of London now have more in common with Manhattan, Moscow or Milan than boroughs down the road. If you go shopping in Mayfair or St James then you would certainly struggle to buy a newspaper or some chewing gum amid the luxury fashion boutiques, cigar and wine merchants and yacht brokers. We stayed at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel which is opposite Gloucester Road tube, straight down the Piccadilly line from King’s Cross Station. Not just well situated, the hotel is well run and welcoming and a great base for a visitor to the capital. I felt at home as soon as I arrived, but it also helped that on leaving the hotel to explore the stunning squares and mews nearby I heard the shout of: “Parky!” and was embraced by a bloke on a mobile phone on the steps of a nearby restaurant. It was Simon Padgett, one of the original investors in TheBusinessDesk.com. Wandering the streets you can sample a myriad of eclectic cuisine including nitrogen ice cream, which is flash-frozen at -198 degrees centigrade by liquid nitrogen smoke and, I’m assured, the only way one should now eat a molecular frozen...
David Parkin on losing Len, veterans in Vegas and Yorkshire on TV

David Parkin on losing Len, veterans in Vegas and Yorkshire on TV

WARM, intelligent, generous, thoughtful and honest, Len Tingle had these and many more qualities. A top class journalist and broadcaster, Len died this week after a year long fight with stomach cancer. Len, 63, who lived in Huddersfield but was brought up in Cudworth near Barnsley, was a familiar face on Look North and Sunday Politics. His television career began at Central TV in 1981, before joining the BBC in 1989 as a business presenter in London. He moved to Leeds as business and industry correspondent before taking up the role of political editor in 2001. I first met him when I arrived at the Yorkshire Post in 2000 and we would often see each other at business events or take part in ‘meet the media’ panels. Then he moved on to political reporting and I saw him less but it was always a highlight to bump into him. He was a regular reader of my blogs – something I took as a huge compliment – but it was Len who used to lavish the praise. In February he dropped me a line to say how much he enjoyed the blog, said he was glad to see I was doing well and ended his email with the words: “Couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke.” Coming from Len that really meant something. I suggested we catch up over a cuppa in the near future. He replied with even more kind words: “What a great story about the student you helped break into the video journalism business. I’ve tried to keep in touch with all the work experience students who have...
David Parkin on Carol Vorderman, the bard of Bardsey and a swinging sensation

David Parkin on Carol Vorderman, the bard of Bardsey and a swinging sensation

IF you asked most people 30 years ago to explain what “equity release” was, they almost certainly couldn’t. In fact the phrase probably hadn’t even been invented then. But a bit like social media it is a product of the way we live today and there can’t be many people over 50 who don’t now know about equity release. Yorkshire firm Age Partnership has capitalised on this successfully and is now a key player in the market providing loans to homeowners against the equity they have tied up in their property. This week Age Partnership announced it is to create 40 jobs on the back of a tie-up with financial services giant SunLife and plans to take on up to 200 new staff this year. The Leeds-based company was founded by serial entrepreneur Andrew Thirkill, who once told me started his career in the advertising department of the Yorkshire Post. His business interests include Age Partnership’s sister company Pure Retirement, which provides home loan mortgage contracts for the equity release market and which was recently named the fastest growing business in Yorkshire in law firm Ward Hadaway’s Fastest 50 Awards. Announcing the deal with SunLife, he said: “With the rise in house prices over the last 20-years, a significant number of over 55s are now sitting on a large amount of property equity which they can release to enjoy in their retirement years.” The chief executive of SunLife Dean Lamble added: “We’ve conducted the biggest-ever research into life after 50, with 50,000 people, and we’ve found that today, life after 50 means taking up new hobbies, trying new experiences,...