David Parkin on unsung heroes of business and a Gazza own goal

David Parkin on unsung heroes of business and a Gazza own goal

UNSUNG heroes. It’s a strange phrase. I’ve always loved unearthing the unsung heroes of business. You know, the entrepreneurs who have created something special but also wanted to put something back. But by highlighting their achievements doesn’t that mean that they are no longer unsung? That might be the case but many still remain relatively unrecognised. The Yorkshire Post produced a supplement on Yorkshire Day last week listing the “great and good” of the county. Leafing through it I was left feeling pretty uninspired. All of them, every one, had letters either before or after their name. No hidden gems there then. More like a quick Google of Yorkshire recipients of honours. I could write you a list as long as your arm of people around the county, many in the business world, who deserve honours. And then I’d have a pretty substantial wager that none of them will ever get them. Because of the archaic approach that those civil servants who have done their time always get honours added to politicians lavishing honours on their lackeys it means that when it comes to business there are not many gongs left to go round. And it doesn’t help that the people who advise on honours lack insight and imagination. It all conspires to mean that the people who really do deserve public recognition often don’t get it. When I was at TheBusinessDesk.com we launched the Business Masters Awards to celebrate business success. It included the ventures who had survived the start-up phase to reach their third year in business. Having experienced it I often think it very similar to...
David Parkin on a Tour de France finale and too much monkey business

David Parkin on a Tour de France finale and too much monkey business

“ARE you taking your Ferraro Rocher?” I was asked when I told a friend I was off to watch the finish of the Tour de France  on the Champs-Elysées, preceded by a drinks reception on the lawn of the British Embassy in Paris. “No, we’re flying to Paris and anyway, I can’t afford a Ferrari,” I replied. It turns out we were both wrong. I thought my friend was referring to a sports car while he was actually meaning Ferrero Rocher, the gold-wrapped nutty chocolate made famous by the 1990s TV advert in which they were served by a butler at a glittering embassy reception. “Ambassador, you are really spoiling us,” was the cheesy line many still repeat from the memorable advert. Fortunately it was dinky canapés held together by tiny pegs and a nice range of Yorkshire cheese from Cryer and Stott in Allerton Bywater that was served on the terrace of the British Ambassador’s residence in the French capital last Sunday. Invited by Welcome to Yorkshire to the finale of the Tour de France, I rubbed shoulders with business leaders and politicians and had the chance to wander about the garden of the Embassy on the Rue de Faubourg Saint-Honore and the lawn where you can find the only grass tennis court in Paris. It was a wonderful experience which was then topped when we all made the short walk to a ninth floor terrace overlooking the Champs-Elysées where we were able to watch the processional finish to the three week Tour de France in which the riders make eight circuits of the French capital before the...
David Parkin on Sky inspiration, a sporting Rolls-Royce and getting short shrift for wearing a suit

David Parkin on Sky inspiration, a sporting Rolls-Royce and getting short shrift for wearing a suit

FORGIVE the self-indulgence in including yet another photograph of me in this blog. But given I wrote about attire in the workplace last week at least the above shot proves that I don’t always go to work in a suit or dinner jacket. This was me compering a recent event we worked on for broadcasting giant Sky for its Broadband Tech Team. They are the men and women who go into homes to sort out issues with wi-fi and broadband. A relatively new team within Sky, this was the first time they had all come together in one place for a conference. The energy and enthusiasm of the 200 people was tangible in the lush surroundings of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. They were so enthusiastic they even clapped me every time I went on stage. The day included presentations, question and answer sessions, a team-building challenge, a barbecue lunch and a entrepreneurial guest speaker who was involved in social media phenomenons TheLadBible and Social Chain, is involved in a range of digital start-ups and has spoken in front of the likes of UFC, ASICS, Eurosport, Apple Music and Unicef. And Tim Hyde is only 23. Sky is investing a great deal into its people and the opportunity to work alongside a great brand with such a modern, go-ahead approach has been both exciting and informative. One of the best parts of the day for me was a question and answer session where members of the team were asked to offer examples of where they had gone above and beyond in their jobs. So many hands went up that we didn’t...
David Parkin meets rabbits and muppets at the Great Yorkshire Show

David Parkin meets rabbits and muppets at the Great Yorkshire Show

YOU know you’re at the Great Yorkshire Show when you patiently wait for a pack of beagles to cross the road in front of you and walk contentedly around a barn staring at prize-winning rabbits (the English Spot is like Thumper crossed with Perdita from 101 Dalmatians). Having failed to get a VIP car parking pass (blogs don’t count here, but the editor of The Dalesman can leave his sedan chair right next to the main gate) I had a feeling I might have a bit of a walk when I found a space to park my car in a field next to a temporary toilet block. But then I realised it was there for those people who had travelled a long way to the annual three-day jamboree for country folk and the rest of us who don our Hunters and Barbour for the odd country stroll. The GYS celebrated its 160th anniversary this year and is the largest agricultural show in the UK attracting 130,000 visitors and 8,500 animals over its three days. It is a wonderful blend of town and country where you see ruddy-faced men emerging from their cars speaking to their families like their cattle: “C’mon then, let’s get at ‘em.” The show holds the annual Cock O’The North competition – I helpfully suggested several candidates until I realised it is a showjumping event. I was there on Tuesday to attend a business breakfast hosted by Welcome to Yorkshire. Fresh from attending the start of the Tour de France, Sir Gary Verity gave a rousing update on what his organisation is doing to boost the...
David Parkin finds clean air in Norway and mucky birds in Yorkshire

David Parkin finds clean air in Norway and mucky birds in Yorkshire

LAST weekend was spent in Norway, a country I had never been to before. If that Scandinavian nation which isn’t in the European Union is what Britain can be like post Brexit, then I’m all for it. Blue skies, sparkling fjords, bright-eyed smiling people and it doesn’t get dark until gone midnight. Wasn’t that the kind of place that Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage promised us post-Brexit? I went away with a group I have known since my early 20s all school friends of a guy who I worked with when I started my first job on a newspaper. He went on to work for the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph but it doesn’t appear to have affected him as he still wears dungarees and Birkenstocks. Another is a top City lawyer, one works in property and another is an engineer, I think. I say I think because he is prone to random comments that make conversation a trifle difficult. We all went to see a friend who married a Norwegian and now lives in the southern Norwegian city of Stavanger. He took us to a couple of bars where I achieved the feat of being the oldest person in one of them and the youngest person in the other. Needless to say I didn’t want to become the fly in the ointment in the former and so headed to Stavanger’s finest piano bar where a man with spiky hair and a tan tinkled out tunes on a white grand piano while ageing lotharios smooched mature ladies next to the bar. Well I say smooched, a better description would...
David Parkin tastes luxury on the coast and says farewell to a friend

David Parkin tastes luxury on the coast and says farewell to a friend

THREE months into his year as High Sheriff of West Yorkshire and Richard Jackson MBE admits he is busier than ever. As well as his voluntary role hosting High Court judges and welcoming royalty to the county, he is continuing his business projects. Richard’s Yorkshire Ventures business acquired the Raithwaite Hotel in Sandsend, near Whitby, out of adminstration and has embarked on an ambitious scheme to develop a luxury resort boasting not just a hotel and other accommodation in the Keep, Lake House and cottages but also 190 self-catering properties and an iconic sea view restaurant. After a long wait, earlier this month plans for the project were approved by Scarborough Borough Council. And that, says Richard, will mean a massive boost for the Yorkshire coast, creating plenty of jobs well as generating millions into the local economy. He said: “I would like to thank the councillors and officers of Scarborough Borough Council for their support of the development of the upmarket, ‘Raithwaite Bay Resort’, between Sandsend and Whitby. “Working closely with my colleagues and professional consultants, we have created an opportunity to meet the authority’s ambitions for enhancing tourism in the area. “Our consent will achieve that objective by creating 450 permanent year round jobs as well as generating in the order of £7m to £8m into the local economy. This, most importantly, is a real win for the families and their children in the local community by securing employment for many generations to come.” I got a chance to experience the Raithwaite Estate yesterday evening when Welcome to Yorkshire held its latest Y30 dinner for its corporate...
David Parkin on Sky presenting and a food challenge with a difference

David Parkin on Sky presenting and a food challenge with a difference

IT has been a busy but rewarding week with the high spot a day-long training session for Sky on presentation skills. No it wasn’t the Sky newsreaders who needed the benefit of my help but regional managers who work in the group’s home service division. We put together and I hosted the day called ‘Powerful Presenting – public speaking and media skills to become a better presenter’ in the very impressive and welcoming surroundings of Bowcliffe Hall near Wetherby. Involving some interactive sessions and some filming and feedback from broadcast journalist Simon Hare, we spent the day outlining how to create and present effective and engaging content to a very likeable and talented group of people who asked lots of questions and really threw themselves into the day. A memorable presentation is made up of many things but I believe the key is all about delivering your content with power and passion, inspiration and impact, authenticity and humour. Get those right and you can enthuse and empower your audience. I’m a great believer that audiences shouldn’t be feared, they want to get something out of the time they put in attending an event and not view it as a waste. As a journalist and writer you might expect me to also believe in the power of storytelling as a great method of getting a message across in a presentation. I recruited another former journalist, Scott Allen, who is now a children’s author, to come along and present a session for the Sky team. His second book, called Llamas Go Large – about a team of Llamas who represent England...
David Parkin on the danger of Leeds resting on its laurels, bolting in Brid and TV fame

David Parkin on the danger of Leeds resting on its laurels, bolting in Brid and TV fame

IN the last few weeks Leeds has hosted England Test Match cricket versus Pakistan at Headingley. Across the city international football was played at at Elland Road with England v Costa Rica plus boxer Josh Warrington won a world title in his home city front of 20,000 fans. Meanwhile last weekend millions of TV viewers enjoyed the World Triathlon Series while even more watched in person and on screen as the four day Tour de Yorkshire cycle race came to a glorious climax in blazing sunshine outside the magnificent Leeds Town Hall. Such a glut of sporting highlights have been rightly celebrated and together they gave truly international profile to the city. As one Twitter user proclaimed: “Leeds is superb, don’t be scared of being proud of it and shouting it out.” True. These are achievements to be proud of. But the city needs to be careful. I can’t help thinking back to another time when it was not just proud, but pretty pleased with itself. In fact it was downright smug. It was after Harvey Nichols chose to open its first store in its 160-year history outside of London – in Leeds. The 1996 opening in the impressive Victoria Quarter of the city centre rightly caused quite a stir and gave Leeds bragging rights over other UK cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff, Birmingham and Manchester. When I arrived in Leeds in 2000 the city was pitching itself as Britain’s number one retail destination outside London. At the same time it was aggressively marketing itself as the legal and financial capital of the provinces. Well, why wouldn’t you? The...
David Parkin on being a Love Island virgin, Peter Stringfellow and a testing time at the cricket

David Parkin on being a Love Island virgin, Peter Stringfellow and a testing time at the cricket

UP to now ITV2 show Love Island has passed me by but I did notice the interest it has generated among viewers and the media. It seemed to attract an audience that wasn’t just the crowd who watch other reality TV shows such as Geordie Shore, The Real Housewives of Cheshire and The Only Way Is Essex. So when the latest series started on Monday I decided to see what I had been missing. Insightful, inspiring, intelligent conversation and sharp wit. Everything it didn’t have. It makes Big Brother look like Question Time. A bunch of narcissistic, surgically enhanced boneheads all vying to ditch their dead end careers for TV stardom. I thought the most popular word uttered by the contestants would be “me” but it turns out it is “like” I, like, counted eight likes in a, like, two sentence, like conversation. The producers have devised a format that keeps the audience entranced night after night. All the contestants are paired up to start with and then new ones are thrown into the mix at the Spanish villa with the opportunity to choose a partner to share a bed with. So one girl who had made a “connection” with one of the white-toothed, glossy-haired guys then has to leave him for the new arrival who has selected her. She appeared devastated and heart broken but after a cuddle between the sheets with her new partner – bigger with whiter teeth and glossier hair than her previous 24-hour beau – everything was fine. Among the motley crew who include a model, a West End performer, a student, an air...
David Parkin pays tribute to two top men, spots celebrities and encounters a naked lawyer

David Parkin pays tribute to two top men, spots celebrities and encounters a naked lawyer

FAREWELL then Brendan Ingle. The eccentric Irishman forged five world champions in his gym perched on a steep hill in the Wincobank area of Sheffield. “Prince” Naseem Hamed, Johnny “The Entertainer” Nelson, Clinton Woods, Junior Witter and Kell Brook were trained by Brendan in the St Thomas’s Boys & Girls Club along with talented contenders such as Herol “Bomber” Graham and Ryan Rhodes. But so were hundreds of others who never made it to the pinnacle of the sport but gained so much in life from their experience with him. Ingle died two weeks ago at the age of 77. I was fortunate to spend some time with him when I was a student journalist and I suggested to the editor of Boxing News, the late Harry Mullan, that I go to Sheffield and interview a three-fight novice called Naseem Hamed who had the skills and the cocky confidence of Muhammad Ali. His trainer, Dublin-born Ingle, showed me around his gym, making sure no photographs were taken of the lines and circles painted on the wooden floor – which he used for carefully crafted footwork drills. Brendan told me how he had first seen Naz as a seven-year-old. Ingle was sitting on the top deck of a bus and saw a fight going on in a school playground. Hamed, the son of Yemeni immigrants, was dwarfed by much bigger boys but was still giving them a pasting. Ingle persuaded his father to bring him along to his gym and that was the start of the story of one of Britain’s most talented boxing champions. Ingle’s love for his sport...