WHERE there’s muck there’s brass.
That’s a saying that originated in Yorkshire.
But I’m sure Hugh Hefner and Paul Raymond would agree.
I was reminded of it when I went to watch Leeds United play Derby County last weekend.
No, I’m not going to make some cheap joke about the quality of the football.
I was a guest of Jason Taylor of the recently rebranded Core Facility Services.
And we both were hosted by Leeds-based skip hire business BWS.
That stands for Big Waste Services.
It does what it says on the skip.
Given the large hospitality box in one corner of Elland Road and the name of the business regularly flashing up on the pitchside electronic advertising hoardings, the company is doing well.
A true family business, we were hosted by Jack and Charlie, sons of founder Roger Woodhead, a farmer who sold his pigs 30 years ago and bought a truck and a skip.
He now has a fleet of trucks and hundreds of skips.
As well as supporting Leeds United, the family has also backed the city’s world featherweight boxing champion Josh Warrington and the wall of the hospitality box had signed shirts and other memorabilia adorning it.
I was intrigued to see a cartoon of the sitcom stars Steptoe and Son on the side of the BWS lorries and inquired why this was.
Roger’s sons weren’t quite sure, but were agreed that he “used to like watching it on telly”.
After a little more forensic probing from me, it emerged that Roger’s nickname was Harold – one of the Steptoe characters – and his grandfather may very well have been a rag and bone man, collecting scrap on a horse drawn cart.
I should have offered to write the family story.
Both Jack and Charlie were welcoming and interesting hosts.
Jack works in the skip business while Charlie has his own company called Dragon Bridge Reclamation.
He buys and sells all sorts of stuff, with a large amount showcased on social media.
Charlie showed us the Instagram feed for his business.
There was a metal statue of a bull (very popular as a garden ornament and for £1,000 it is yours), vintage whisky barrels and a McDonald’s sign.
Yes, that’s right a genuine golden arch.
“David would like that,” said Jason, helpfully.
Not quite like Albert Steptoe, but almost.
“Sorry pal, we’ve already sold it,” Charlie told me.
I tried to look disappointed.
I you spot a big gold M sign in a garden in Leeds, you know where it came from.
And if you want one, I know a man who can help.
FROM Elland Road to Headingley.
It was a quick dash across town to get from the football stadium to the home of cricket and rugby in Leeds for an evening of classical music and song.
Proms on the Pitch was a celebration to mark the completion of the hlghly impressive £45m
Investment in the Emerald Headingley Stadium.
Leeds Rugby teamed up with Leeds City Council to put on the event which attracted almost 3,000 people for a flag-waving concert featuring renowned soprano Lesley Garrett joined on the pitch by the 52-piece Yorkshire Gala Orchestra conducted by Stephen Bell along with Leeds Rhinos fan favourite John Innes, known as ‘Opera Man’.
I had an invite from Leeds Rugby and Geoff Bloore of Leeds-based success story, the car leasing business Global Autocare.
Given Geoff is a key sponsor of the UCI Cycling World Championships in Harrogate – he has 135 cars involved in the event and so was at its launch – his partner Joanne Duncan was our very warm and entertaining host.
I’d have a lot more to fill this column with today if Joanne hadn’t caveated every amusing tale she told with the words: “This is not for the blog, David.”
Which means a certain prominent Yorkshire personality can breathe a sigh of relief.
When Leeds Rugby chief executive Gary Hetherington gave his usual charming welcome to guests I was surprised to be announced as one of their “friends in the media”.
That was nice.
Well, I’ve been described as worse.
When you are in the media you need all the friends you can get.
It was a beautiful early autumn evening and as the sun set we took our seats in the new stand and prepared to wave Union Jacks and Leeds Rhinos flags.
Families had brought chairs and blankets and set up camp on the pitch in front of the stage.
I was reminded of trips to outdoor sporting and music events in my youth.
While the parents drank wine and chatted with each other, us kids dashed about playing games, almost oblivious to whatever else was going on around us.
The night culminated in a fireworks display and the obligatory flag waving finale to Pomp and Circumstance.
Given the weather we have had since it almost felt like we were waving goodbye to summer.
WHILE the orchestra and singing at Proms on the Pitch was wonderful, the highlight for me was hearing from an iconic sporting figure.
James Jones-Buchanan is one of the most successful and long-serving Leeds Rhinos players.
Over a 20-year career, Bramley boy JJB made 421 appearances and won honours including seven Super League titles, one Challenge Cup, three World Club Challenges and three League Leaders titles.
But putting that aside, Jamie is one of the nicest, most throughful people you could meet.
He has an inbuilt sense of family, community and caring and off the pitch has done a great deal for charity as well as challenging himself to tackle acting, public speaking, broadcasting and business.
I’ve booked him to speak at several events where he has proved hugely popular.
All of his work has been recognised now that his career has come to a close.
He has recently received one of the highest honours Leeds City Council can give.
His bins will be emptied on time.
No, sorry I’m being silly.
He has been granted the Leeds Award by the city council alongside bestselling Armley author Barbara Taylor-Bradford.
Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake explained to guests at Proms on the Pitch why JJB was so deserving of the honour: “He has just been such an inspiration to our city. He is a real role model – he has not only performed on the pitch for Leeds Rhinos, but the real reason I have got to know Jamie so well is the incredible work he has done as an ambassador for Leeds as a child-friendly city. This contribution to young people is just phenomenal. He brings to every occasion an incredible wit, an incredible intelligence – he is such an articulate speaker and is very motivational when it comes to reaching out to people and encouraging them to be the best they can be.”
Judith told the audience Jamie has been recruited to join the board of Leeds 2023, the arts, sporting and cultural festival which is happening because Leeds is prevented from bidding to be European Capital of Culture.
Jamie accepted the honour with his usual good grace, humility and wit and told the audience his retirement had been celebrated with family, team-mates and fans.
The 38-year-old said he had had a perfect send-off, captaining the team to a win over Warrington Wolves, before the celebrations began, culminating with a fancy dress party at his home.
“I dressed up as the Black Prince. Ever since I was a little boy walking through City Square looking up at that statue which is the symbol of Leeds, I’ve wanted to do that.
“And it wasn’t plastic armour or chain mail either, it was the real stuff,” he told us.
Now if you’re worried that here we might have another Justin Trudeau situation, don’t worry.
Because JJB is, in the modern parlance, “a person of colour”.
And quite frankly, given the size of him, nobody is going to argue with him about what he wants to wear anyway.
Have a great weekend.