David Parkin says goodbye to a good guy and flashes the plastic on Love Island

David Parkin says goodbye to a good guy and flashes the plastic on Love Island

TERRY Hodgkinson was one of the good guys.

A rare beast – he was an entrepreneur who successfully embraced a high profile public sector role.

Terry died suddenly last week at the age of just 70.

The construction company founder who became chairman of regional development agency Yorkshire Forward was universally well liked in the region,.

You can put that down to his calm, sensitive manner and that he always seemed to want to help others rather than advance his own position.

And his lack of ego was almost unique for someone who reached the level he did.

I first met Terry in 2003 when he was named chairman of Yorkshire Forward.

He was certainly the dark horse in the race for the top job at the regional development agency, winning the role ahead of well fancied contenders including former Yorkshire Water boss John Napier, Yorkshire Television MD Richard Gregory and businesswoman and Yorkshire Forward deputy chair Linda Pollard.

It’s fair to say that the others had been lobbying hard for the job and were gutted to miss out on a role seen at the time as one of the most high profile in the region and with a direct line into the Gordon Brown government.

When I made my way to his Wakefield home after the appointment had been announced, Terry was beaming with pride and delight.

He then lived in Heath Hall, a magnificent stone mansion which sat in the centre of a picturesque village surrounded by a verdant common on the outskirts of Wakefield.

I recall it had a ha ha at the bottom of the garden.

At the time his appointment was announced, I remember some people trying to suggest that the wrong candidate had been chosen.

What did this little known builder know about how to boost the regional economy and lobby politicians in the corridors of power?

Perhaps it was because of his humility, he just didn’t shout about himself and was quite happy to refer to himself as a “humble builder”.

He was born in Barnoldswick, a Lancashire town which Terry was quick to tell me used to be in West Craven in the West Riding until a local government reorganisation in 1974 saw its white rose painted red.

I quickly realised that here was a man who really wanted the Yorkshire Forward role and really wanted to make a difference.

One of the lines from my interview warned people not to underestimate him: “Hodgkinson is no hod carrier.”

He liked that and used to quote it back to me when we met.

He might not have liked other observations, but he was far too polite to tell me.

Perhaps it was because he had such an amiable exterior, but I wondered at the time whether he possessed the dynamism needed for such a role.

“He’s a diplomat and consummate networker but with a slight gaucheness which makes it almost impossible to dislike him. He comes across as a man who wants to be liked,” I wrote.

“I’m no different here than I am at home or in the pub,” he told me at the time when I commented about his even-tempered style.

“You still have to make tough decisions but when you smile and make tough decisions it’s easier.

“You should always carry weather within you and everyday can be a sunny day,” he added.

Terry was a big fan of motivational speakers and training courses and that was almost certainly a line picked up from the circuit.

And unlike most entrepreneurs, he understood and embraced how the public sector worked and talked its language almost like a native.

Terry spent six years at the helm of Yorkshire Forward, working closely with chief executive Tom Riordan – who now runs Leeds City Council – and despite many economic and political challenges, the organisation did a good job and left Yorkshire in good shape.

Indeed many in the business community were sad to see its demise after it and all the English RDAs fell victim to the austerity drive of David Cameron’s coalition government.

Terry was a good man who is not just a loss to Yorkshire but to the human race.

You can put him in that very small group of people who actually did more for others than they did for themselves.

:::

I WAS sitting in Appetite, a favourite cafe in Leeds, this week reading the Daily Mail.

That’s because the Economist, New Statesman and Spectator weren’t available.

If anyone had asked, I would have resorted to the excuse my Mum uses: “I buy it for the TV pages.”

Anyway, flicking through the news pages, I saw a story about TV property guru Sarah Beeny making a profit on selling her renovated East Yorkshire mansion, Rise Hall.

The accompanying photograph carried the caption: “Sarah Beeny and her husband Graham Swift pictured at Rise Hall.”

Except it wasn’t her husband, it was Dan Gill, the entrepreneur behind Leeds catering company Dine who has bought the 97 room historic home from Sarah Beeny.

I’m not sure what Dan’s wife Helen makes of the mistake but I’m sure the couple have had a laugh about it.

And I’ve been reminded of that old adage: “Don’t believe everything you read in the papers.”

:::

NEWSPAPERS, websites and social media have been plastered with stories about ITV show Love Island for weeks.

I have to admit that I haven’t seen a minute of the programme, but given the amount of coverage I know the names of some of this year’s hopefuls including Amber, Lucie and Anton.

The inmates of the reality show set in a Majorcan villa are all desperate to elevate themselves to celebrity status and rinse the opportunity for further TV work and personal appearances.

As with previous series, this year’s crop appear no strangers to cosmetic surgery.

It reminded me of when I took a flight from Istanbul to London in May.

A very tanned young lady with tattoos and ripped jeans was taken to the door of the aeroplane in a wheelchair.

She made her way slowly and rather gingerly down the aisle before pausing at her seat.

She turned to a lady behind her and said: “I’ve just had a boob job, can you put my case in the overhead locker please?”

The lady in question had a bandage on her nose that also suggested she had been surgically enhanced too.

I watched all this unfold with great interest and then saw a bloke walking down the aisle with a head that looked like a pin cushion, suggesting he had had a hair transplant.

A stewardess saw me gawping at these sights.

“We get them on this flight all the time. We call it the plastic surgery express,” she told me.

Apparently cosmetic surgery in Turkey is considerably cheaper than here in the UK.

The fragrant Katie Price and her latest boyfriend (or victim, depending on how you look at it) have recently returned from a trip to Turkey with matching his and her’s dental veneers.

They say love is blind.

Not if you want a career as a minor celebrity it isn’t.

Have a great weekend.

 

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