David Parkin on the scrabble for YABL, an English rugby winner and chatting with Yoda

David Parkin on the scrabble for YABL, an English rugby winner and chatting with Yoda

THERE aren’t many corporate dinners in the business calendar that you look forward to going to.

Getting an invite to the Leeds Law Society annual dinner or a do for members of the ICAEW (it’s for accountants, but these days it is terribly unfashionable for an organisation to explain what the initials stand for) is a bit like being invited to walk the plank by Blackbeard.

Fortunately the one black tie event I do look forward to is the Yorkshire Asset Based Lending Dinner.

This annual knees up for the North’s leading financiers does two things most business dinners don’t: it raises a serious amount of money for charity and it always has good speakers.

How many corporate events can say that?

The event was conceived and is run by the force of nature that is Chris Silverwood of Ethos Corporate Finance.

The only difference is this year, we’re helping him organise it.

The event, sponsored by Ultimate Finance, has raised tens of thousands of pounds for for various charities over the past four years and become a popular and established fixture in the corporate event calendar as it does not feature a lengthy awards ceremony or speeches and focuses on encouraging the asset based lending community to meet and enjoy a fun evening doing business and raising money for charity.

And so it is now down to me to come up with the entertainment for the evening as well as compere the lively audience of lenders, bankers, corporate financiers and other professionals (they don’t turn into a rabble until later in the evening).

Last year’s event was a sell-out with 600 people attending and it featured an eclectic mix of speakers including Nookie Bear and Roger de Courcey and former Premier League footballer Matt Le Tissier.

The fifth annual YABL dinner, being held at New Dock Hall in Leeds on Thursday, April 14, will raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Tickets have only been on sale since Monday and already more than 350 have been sold.

The photo above includes Noel Haverly of Ultimate Finance, Chris Sliverwood of Ethos Corporate Finance, charity fundraisers Jean and Alan Williams with Michaela Ryder of Macmillian Cancer Support.

Tables of 10 at YABL are priced at £850 +VAT. To book a table or for sponsorship details or to donate an action or raffle prize, contact liz@copasummit.com or call 0113 892 1002 or go to www.yabl.co.uk for more information and to book a table.

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IF you’re still feeling a bit low after the home nations’ performances at last year’s Rugby World Cup, here is a rugby story to inspire you for the New Year.

Next week Yorkshire-based financial planner Tim Brear, co-founder of Harrogate-based firm Brook-Dobson Brear, heads off to spend five weeks in Africa.

But rather than messing about watching cricket and tasting wine, like I did, or going on safari, rugby enthusiast Tim, who lives in Ilkley and coaches six to 16-year-olds at Otley RUFC, will be in Kenya and Uganda as a volunteer with rugby charity The Bhubesi Pride.

The former soldier, who played rugby at school, club, university and in the army, describes the trip as “one last hurrah using my experience as a volunteer for a charity”.

The Bhubesi Pride (www.rugbyinafrica.org) is a charity using rugby to unite, empower and inspire children in Africa.

It was founded by former schoolteacher Richard Bennett who grew up in South Africa and who, Tim tells me, has family in Addingham.

Bhubesi Pride Foundation puts together teams of committed volunteers to carry out annual rugby coaching expeditions across Africa using the sport as a tool for education and development. A glance at the 2016 team that Tim will be part of shows that they will work in schools and villages in nine African countries in the coming weeks.

They are a varied bunch, ranging from young British rugby players being funded by the Bill McLaren Foundation to a Las Vegas-based rugby coach called CJ to a young woman who started playing tag rugby as a way of meeting new people when she moved to Paris.

I have no doubt Tim’s trip will be a success and look forward to hearing about it on his return. He is one of those slightly annoying people who is good at whatever they put their mind to.

After rugby he took up marathon running and has completed races in cities around the world in impressive times.

If you are interested in supporting the charity, getting involved or even following in Tim’s wake and volunteering, then more information is available at www.rugbyinafrica.org

I was going to describe Tim’s firm, which is based on Hornbeam Park in Harrogate, as a wealth manager, but given he said they can look at my finances, then it’s not the right description.

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I ALWAYS answer my landline at home with a smidgeon of trepidation.

It’s either an unsolicited sales call about getting solar panels fitted to my roof or the chance to claim thousands of pounds in compensation for taking out payment protection insurance on a bank loan years ago.

Or its my mother asking what I’ve been up to and I have to quickly try and think of something fulfilling and inspiring.

Last week I picked up the phone one evening and I have to give the guy from the call centre in India a great deal of credit.

He was trying to sell me some financial product or other and as I attempted to make an excuse to end the call he said: “All you have to do is take part in a quick survey that will help you reduce the amount of irrelevant sales calls you receive.”

I actually felt bad putting the phone down on such a resourceful individual.

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I WAS out walking the dog this time last week when the first call arrived concerning my blog.

I suppose describing some highly paid lawyers and accountants as “poncing about” was a trifle incendiary.

The call came from Steve Thomas of Excello Law, who passionately proclaimed: “David, please, lawyers don’t ponce about, they stride…whether they earn £800,000 a year or not!”

Steve proceeded to lavish praise on my scribblings.

“I’ve just read your column about Marks and Spencer in the car on the way to a meeting and I thought there were some interesting facts in there.”

What, as opposed to the normal rubbish?

He replied in the affirmative.

With nowhere to go on that front, I resorted to a health and safety warning.

“I hope you weren’t reading your emails while you were driving?”

“No, I have something that reads out emails in the car,” he replied.

I wonder what voice it read my blog out in?

An offer of a David Parkin voice didn’t seem to excite him.

Or how about getting it read out by Darth Vader?

Or Yoda?

But then it would rewriting need, it would, hmm?

A great weekend have.

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