David Parkin on a winning combination, the earthy reality of football and finding Lord Lucan

David Parkin on a winning combination, the earthy reality of football and finding Lord Lucan

THE first race meeting of the year at York is always my favourite.

The Dante meeting in mid May is a highlight for its high quality racing.

It is busy but never the bunfight you have during the Ebor Festival in August so you can achieve some quality networking.

Throw in the warm, sunny weather this week and I bet the Knavesmire has looked serene.

I’m guessing of course, because I’ve not been at York Races this week as I’ve been working.

The closest I got was compering an export seminar at an accountants offices in Monks Cross yesterday.

I know you have got some sympathy for my plight and, I agree, I really need to sort my priorities out.

So in the meantime it was lovely to receive an invitation from long-time contact and friend Mandy Taylor.

Mandy is a very successful charity fundraiser and consummate networker who I first met at Huddersfield Town.

She is currently working with Leeds Italian restaurant Bibis and is behind an event that the city dining institution is holding to raise money for the Maggie’s Yorkshire cancer charity.

Bibis Italianissimo is holding a Royal Ascot Ladies Day event next month, bringing “an Italian touch to a quintessentially English event”.

On Thursday, June 20th Bibis promises to bring the fun, finesse, glitz and glamour of Royal Ascot to Leeds.

Fun, finesses, glitz and glamour – I suppose that’s why I’ve been invited.

It’s amazing how much you can fit in to a small package.

Leave it, dear.

Guests are invited to Bibis for prosecco and canapes before taking a seat and enjoying a ‘day at the races’ along with a fabulous three course meal.

From the Royal Procession to the final race, Bibis will broadcast the entire day on projectors and speakers fitted around the restaurant and on the stage with betting, tipsters, and a compere to tie it all together.

This one-off event is open to businesses as well as members of the public and is priced at £60 per person exclusive of drinks.   

Booking is essential and can be made by contacting the restaurant directly on 0113 243 0905 or emailing reservations@bibisrestaurant.com

We organised a Ladies Day event at the Foundry restaurant in Leeds a few years ago and attendees loved it so I’m really looking forward to the Bibis event which importantly will be raising money for the new Maggie’s Yorkshire Centre which opens later this year.

If you don’t know about Maggie’s it is an incredible charity.

Maggie’s Yorkshire is being 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.

Designed by acclaimed architect Thomas Heatherwick, the centre will, I believe, be one of the most iconic modern buildings in Yorkshire.

I compered an event at the Bexley Wing cancer centre at St James’s Hospital yesterday where Angel Tenorio, the deputy project leader at Heatherwick Studio, talked about the project to an audience of hospital staff, patients and supporters of Maggie’s Yorkshire.

It was fascinating to hear Angel describe that the brief that the studio was given was to create somewhere that people would love to live but wouldn’t dare design themselves.

You only have to look at the image below to see that that will be achieved.

After the event I went on a ‘hard hat’ tour of the building with Laura Riach from Maggie’s.

It is already starting to look like the CGI images – trees and plants are now planted on the roof – which is incredible given it has has been squeezed onto a sloping triangular pocket of land between the Bexley Wing and the multi-storey car park at the hospital.

The centre, which will be a relaxing haven where cancer patients and their families  have a place and space to explore tough questions and difficult emotions that can range from anxiety, to loneliness and isolation.

Visitors are given the help and information they need to allow them to become informed participants in their medical treatment, along with stress-reducing strategies, psychological support and the opportunity to meet other people in similar circumstances.

It was humbling to hear one example of how Maggie’s Yorkshire will help from a lady with pancreatic cancer who runs a support group that meets in a relatively characterless room at the hospital.

They will soon gather in the warm, welcoming surroundings of the new Maggie’s centre, which, like every Maggie’s, will have a kitchen table at its heart and where visitors can help themselves to a cuppa and chat to staff or just relax and enjoy the sweeping views over the cityscape of Leeds.


So well done to Bibis for choosing to support Maggie’s Yorkshire.

They even went to the trouble of getting a horse to the restaurant to help promote the event – as you can see from the photograph above.

The horse is called Chilack but I don’t know the name of the lady in the photo.

I’m definitely losing my touch.

Look forward to seeing you there.


IT was just what I didn’t want.

The football team I grew up supporting pitted against the club in the city I’ve called home for the best part of 20 years.

Derby County v Leeds United was never going to be a win-win for me.

I watched the first leg of the Play-off semi-final in an Irish bar in Istanbul.

A Leeds fan sat in front of me and actually turned round to apologise after jumping up to cheer Kemar Roofe’s goal.

I thought the chap sitting with him looked familiar, then realised he had a resemblance to Brienne of Tarth, the character from Sky Atlantic hit TV show Game of Thrones played by 6ft 3in actress Gwendoline Christie.

I took to social media to proclaim seeing this look-a-like and was greeted with several replies from people pointing out that the character from the TV show was knighted in a recent episode and is now Sir Brienne.

That left me thinking that I’m knocking around with the wrong kind of people.

Where’s Big Jim, the great grandfather who founded the Leeds United Service Crew, when you need him for a dose of earthy reality (“I hate Derby. But I’ve had some good fights there…”)

I’m still in shock after the topsy-turvy events of the second leg on Wednesday evening.

After that epic encounter Derby still have to get over the hurdle of beating the in-form Aston Villa on the big stage at Wembley on Bank Holiday Monday to get to the promised land of the Premier League.

And Leeds, after licking their wounds, must now regroup and face yet another season of attempting to climb the greasy pole that is the Championship.

I hope they can do it.

And I hope it is with Marcelo Bielsa at the helm.

Forget Spygate, the Argentine has brought character, sportsmanship, intensity, honesty and identity to Elland Road.

He’s an enigma, but one we want in English football.


WHEN my friend Jonny Hick told me he was going to meet Lord Lucan I only thought he was popping down to his local.

You see that’s what Harrogate corporate financier Mark Eardley is known as in the Coach & Horses when it’s his round.

Anyway it turns out that Jonny was actually going to meet the real, disappeared Lord Lucan’s son, the Earl of Lucan and his wife the Countess of Lucan about a potential business deal.

More news of this in the near future – well sooner than Lord Lucan reappearing.

And definitely before Mark Eardley springs for a round of Black Sheep.

Have a great weekend.


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