David Parkin on how to win friends and influence people and the details of a retailer

David Parkin on how to win friends and influence people and the details of a retailer

HOW to make friends and influence people? Have you ever wondered how you do that? Well don’t do what I do, for a start. This time last year I attended the CBI Yorkshire and Humber annual dinner in the refectory of the University of Leeds. I must have found it pretty uninspiring as I described it as “drier than an ageing Ryvita”. Which prompted Beckie Hart, the regional director of the CBI in Yorkshire, to march over to me at a parliamentary reception in the Churchill Room of the House of Commons a few weeks later to present me with a packet of Ryvita. Fair play to her. Rather than simmering in silence she confronted me and did it with a sense of humour. When I bumped into Beckie at the Proms on the Pitch event at Headingley Stadium last month she introduced me to her husband. “Are you the Ryvita man?” he asked. It was back to the University of Leeds refectory for this year’s CBI annual dinner last night and I was hoping it wouldn’t be deja vu (forgive the lack of accents on the e and the a, I can’t find how to do it on my keyboard) all over again. Fortunately it wasn’t a bad do, perhaps helped by me being on the lively Barclays table hosted by Caroline Pullich, Lee Collinson and Karen Swainston in a rather fetching pair of zebra print heels (Karen, not Lee). The compere of the evening was the chairman of the CBI in Yorkshire and the Humber Richard Flint. He made his name building up SkyBet into a major...
David Parkin on passion, pride and poignancy on a landmark day

David Parkin on passion, pride and poignancy on a landmark day

IMAGINE you’ve spent years watching and waiting for your dream home to be built. There have been plenty of challenges along the way. You’ve had to keep the budget under control while not sacrificing the ultimate aim of what you want to achieve. But when the building is finished you see it from the outside before going inside. And it is better than you ever imagined. Better than even the architect’s images portrayed it and which your layman’s imagination could never quite grasp. That’s how it felt when I went to the launch of Maggie’s Yorkshire this week. It has taken several years to raise the funds, design and then construct this incredible building. And it won’t be a dream home for just one family, but a place where every family in Yorkshire that are affected by cancer will be welcome. It is the 26th centre opened by Maggie’s but the first one that the charity has in Yorkshire. Maggie’s Yorkshire has been built in the grounds of St James’s University Hospital in Leeds to complement its excellent clinical care and to offer the practical, emotional and social support people with cancer and their families and friends need. When you see what has been created on what was a small sloping triangle of grass where the rubbish used to be stored next to the hospital’s multi-storey car park then I think you’d probably agree it is a triumph of hope over expectation. Renowned architect Thomas Heatherwick, whose London studio has been responsible for designing the 2012 Olympic cauldron and the new bus for London, was given the challenge to...
David Parkin on the issues dogging WAGs

David Parkin on the issues dogging WAGs

FORGET Brexit. There is no doubting the big story of the week. Coleen Rooney’s spat with fellow footballer’s wife Rebekah Vardy. If you’re not familiar with the details of this story then allow me to elucidate the matter. The wife of Wayne Rooney took to Twitter to claim that the spouse of Leicester striker Jamie Vardy has been leaking stories from her Instagram account to The Sun newspaper. Bear with me. It took five months of painstaking detective work by Coleen to track down the miscreant, which must have seriously eaten into the time available for her to go on holiday. Rebekah Vardy has denied the claims and instructed lawyers over the matter. The Sun brilliantly headlined this argy bargy between footballers wives as WAGGRO! Apparently Coleen successfully tracked down the culprit by blocking all except one person from viewing stories on her Instagram account. She then posted fictitious stories on the social media site such as her going on Strictly Come Dancing, opting for gender selection in Mexico for her next child and the big one – her basement flooding. All of these apparently appeared in The Sun newspaper – and the only person who could view them was Rebekah Vardy, meaning she was the culprit, according to Coleen. But she says it wasn’t her. The hullabaloo saw normally serious news outlets embracing the story with gusto – Radio 4’s Today programme interviewed a footballer’s wife who appears on The Real Housewives of Cheshire – which is probably more to do with Brexit fatigue than the importance of this particular issue. Things got serious when that intellectual titan...
David Parkin on Harrogate welcoming the world and a powerhouse performance

David Parkin on Harrogate welcoming the world and a powerhouse performance

THE slogan adopted by the town where cycling’s UCI Road World Championships took place last week was: “Harrogate Welcomes The World”. Although for those of us who know Harrogate and those who live there, that motto could have been caveated with the words: “But make sure you are polite, form orderly queues and don’t drop litter on the Stray.” The spa town did actually lay on a great welcome for the biggest sporting event in the UK this year, even if the weather hadn’t quite bought into the deal that Yorkshire should be at its best. The week-long event enjoyed two gloriously sunny days and several days of torrential rain. The worst of the weather was reserved for the event’s climax, the men’s elite road race on Sunday. It tipped it down all day meaning the start in Leeds was slightly delayed while parts of the route had to be altered because of flooding, including missing out on Buttertubs, iconic from its role in the Tour de France Grand Depart. But that didn’t stop thousands of people lining the route and heading for the climax in Harrogate where the drenched riders did nine laps around the town centre as enthusiastic crowds under brollies and waterproofs cheered with vigour. When I mentioned to a local resident that I had never seen so many cagoules in Harrogate I received a clipped answer: “They must have been tourists.” Apparently the required uniform is a Schöffel gilet. It is a German clothing brand beloved of the country sporting set but worn by a much wider constituency, including many whose only experience of shooting...