David Parkin beside the seaside, finding an oasis of calm in the city and boxing the Terminator

I WENT to the seaside in my suit last week.

The Welcome to Yorkshire team invited me to join them at a new event called The Business Day at Bridlington Spa.

Launched by East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Hull City Council, the fear was that any event organised by the public sector might not work for the private sector.

But the business community on the east coast are a close knit bunch and the event was backed by sponsors including KCOM, Wykeland Group, Sewell Group, Spencer Group, Bonus Electrical, BP, Andrew Jackson Solicitors and MKM Building Supplies.

The organisers probably needed all that sponsorship as they had TV presenter and singer Alexander Armstrong hosting the event and speakers were Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge CBE and BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson, who aren’t cheap.

Better value was Big V himself, Sir Gary Verity of Welcome to Yorkshire.

He took to the stage and immediately throw in a few references to the previous day’s general election, saying he was pleased to be at the “strong and stable” Bridlington Spa to give the “Paul Nuttall memorial lecture” – the UKIP leader had announced his resignation that morning.

And he was also able to inform the audience that local club Hull City had announced the arrival of former Russia coach Leonid Slutsky that morning.

“What did he just say?” asked one businessman sitting behind me in the stalls.

“Slutsky’s in Hull,” his neighbour answered.

“There’s nothing new there,” he responded.

Having had a multi-million pound makeover in recent years, Brid Spa is an impressive venue looking out to sea and attracting a host of major events.

Showaddywaddy are appearing there soon.

I’m sure Karren Brady has achieved plenty of business success in her career, but I doubt she can better her return from appearing at events like this.

For a fee north of 20 grand she spoke for about 30 minutes and took 15 minutes of questions.

That’s about £500 a minute. It’s enough to make Premier League footballers jealous.

She is currently vice-chairman of West Ham and started in football as the 23-year-old managing director of Birmingham City, after persuading her boss, David Sullivan, to buy it.

Most of her stories were about her experiences at the club but, rather strangely, she never mentioned it by name.

She said one memory was from travelling on the team bus to an away match at Newcastle, and, as she walked down the centre of the coach, one of the players said loudly: “I can see your tits from here.”

After the guffawing from his team-mates had subsided, she turned to the footballer and said: “You won’t be able to see them when I sell you to Crewe.”

“The best business I ever did was when I sold him two days later,” she told the audience.

“And remember, behind every successful man…is a surprised mother-in-law,” she concluded, a statement which appeared to tickle more of the women in the room than the men.


WHILE I’ve always supported a number of charities, I’ve never really got involved with one on a more formal basis.

So when Martin Jenkins asked me to join the Maggie’s Yorkshire Campaign Board, which he chairs, I wanted to make sure that I could add some value, rather than using it to pad out the CV.

I got to know more about Maggie’s when we organised the Big Ticket event in Leeds in February, an informal evening for the region’s corporate financiers which raised money for the charity.

If you haven’t heard of Maggie’s Centres before, they are an amazing network that support people who are suffering from cancer and, importantly, those closest to them.

Each of those centres is superbly designed by an award-winning architect and built in the grounds of a specialist NHS cancer hospital at the invitation of the local hospital trust.

They provide a calming oasis and reassurance and support in the midst of the physical and emotional turmoil that a cancer diagnosis can bring.

Yorkshire is the largest county in the UK but is one of the few without a Maggie’s Centre.

Well that is set to change as the campaign to raise the £6m-plus to build, open and run a centre is in full swing with work due to start on site at St James’ Hospital later this year and the centre hopefully opening next year.

Martin Jenkins, who is the senior partner for Deloitte in Yorkshire and the North East, has brought the same vigour and determination to driving forward the campaign for a Maggie’s Centre in Yorkshire that I’ve seen him do in corporate finance transactions for his clients.

He’s also brought together an impressive campaign board which I’m honoured to be part of.

Having not seen a Maggie’s Centre before, I visited the one of the newest at the Christie Hospital in Manchester this week.

It is pictured above.

It opened just over a year ago and was designed by Lord Foster. Norman Foster’s practice has been behind some of the world’s most iconic buildings such as the Gherkin in London, Hearst Tower in New York and Hong Kong International Airport.

Set in a beautiful garden, the centre, like all the others is a welcoming building designed to be calming and peaceful, a home from home with a kitchen table at the heart like most homes.

Walking through the front door I couldn’t tell the staff from the patients and what struck me most was a warmth and positivity that must help give cancer patients and their families tremendous support at the most difficult time in their lives.

Like in Manchester, Maggie’s Yorkshire will be a place where people affected by cancer can have a cup of tea in a calming environment and talk to an experienced cancer support expert about anything they feel they need to talk about.

A quiet and safe space just minutes away from the main oncology area of St James’s University Hospital in Leeds.

Designed by world-renowned architect Heatherwick Studio – responsible for the London Olympics cauldron and the new Routemaster bus – the new centre will serve the 5.4 million people living across the whole of Yorkshire.

The campaign to raise the money to build the centre and provide sufficient funds for it to run for the first two years has already garnered some amazing support from businesses and individuals across the region and beyond.

But the hard work continues and I hope you can support it.


DRIVING into central Manchester from the Christie Hospital, I passed through Moss Side, once a notoriously rough inner city area which has benefited from redevelopment and regeneration over the past 20 years.

There was a reminder of its one-time reputation when I spotted five police cars with flashing lights outside a house on a council estate alongside the main road.

Opposite was the boxing gym called Champs Camp, started by the late boxing trainer Phil Martin and now renamed the Phil Martin Centre in his honour.

A decent light heavyweight in the 1970s, Phil Martin was persuaded to take up training fighters after he retired and his vision and motivational approach saw him produce a stable of fighters, many of whom won domestic honours, including Tony Ekubia, Ensley Bingham, Maurice Core and Ossie Maddix.

His work also provided a focus for a lot of local boys and girls who might not have kept to the straight and narrow if it wasn’t for the discipline of trips to the community gym.

I visited the gym in 1992 when I was a student and writing a few features for Boxing News.

I went to Champs Camp to interview Bradford-born Frank “The Terminator” Grant, a gritty no-nonsense southpaw who had built up a decent record and was due to challenge Herol “Bomber” Graham for the British Middleweight title in an outdoor show on the pitch at Leeds United’s Elland Road.

Flinty-eyed and rock solid, Grant was not a man you wanted to fall out with and he lost no time in verbally bashing his domestic rivals, including a Midlands fighter he’d beaten some years before called Shaun “The Guv’nor” Cummins.

In the days pre-Twitter and Instagram, the best way of “calling out” a rival fighter was in the pages of trade paper Boxing News.

So Grant, getting ever-more annoyed as I repeated some of the statements made by Cummins, finally erupted and said: “I hope we fight again and then I’ll give him the beating his daddy should have given him.”

When he later took on the seemingly imperious Graham, who in 48 bouts had only lost three times to world champions Mike McCallum and Sumbu Kalambay, Grant was expected to lose.

Instead he ploughed forward landing hard shots on Graham’s chin before referee Paul Thomas stepped in to rescue the floundering champion in the ninth round.

He then repeated his wish to give “The Guv’nor” a beating and Cummins responded, using the pages of Boxing News to declare that he would give Grant the battering of his life and he’d also like to get hold of the idiotic journalist who had quoted him.

And I decided that my future lay in news reporting rather than covering boxing.

Have a great weekend.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top