David Parkin gets some kicks from his bucket list

IT has been a summer of several “firsts”.

I visited Provence for the first time.

I went to Jersey for the first time.

For breakfast.

In a private jet.

Which was definitely something I hadn’t done before.

Well, I’m not big on breakfast.

The invitation came during a convivial lunch at Sous le Nez in Leeds with Drew Haymes of finance business A Shade Greener.

We discussed a variety of topics including European menswear styles, the Spanish Civil War, the pilgrim trail in Northern Spain and the best places to sample port in Porto.

Drew joined the firm after a 20-year career in the banking sector at HSBC, RBS and Santander where he was based in Spain – hence his knowledge of the country and its history and culture.

Over lunch Drew – who you might remember, saw me on a train from King’s Cross to Leeds last year and gave me a gift of two bread rolls as part of a batch he had bought for his mother from her favourite Jewish bakery in Welwyn Garden City (click to read about it here–  told me that co-founder of A Shade Greener Finance (ASG) Anthony Cundall is a pilot who owns a number of aeroplanes and helicopters.

That has enabled the firm to give its key business introducers the unique and memorable experience of a trip on a private jet.

He suggested I join an upcoming trip to Jersey where he had invited Alex Beardsley of ABL Business and Vicki Walker of Resolute Commercial Finance.

Clearly when you are hosting two key female business contacts what you need in a guest is a man of wit and charm who is a model of rectitude with impeccable manners.

Now you might say that Drew doesn’t know me well enough but I would tell you he’s an outstanding judge of character.

Suffice to say I was delighted to accept the invitation and a couple of weeks later I was striding across the tarmac at an airfield in Staffordshire near England’s St George’s Park training base.

I was impressed by the jet waiting at the airfield, a Cessna Citation Mustang 510, which looked stunning as the early morning sunlight glinted off its white fuselage and the tail number which bore the legend G-RNER (as in ‘greener’).

Alex and Vicki were lively and fun companions.

The last time I saw Alex we were on the terrace of the House of Commons after a reception held by the CBI and Barclays in London.

That was just before my confrontation with Tory MP Craig Whitaker in which he called me “vile” and I informed him that he was a man for whom I didn’t hold much respect.

You can read about it here.

I hadn’t met Vicki before but she has asked to be added to the distribution list for this blog so I can only surmise she is a shrewd and clever woman.

With Anthony as co-pilot the plane took off so smoothly that if I hadn’t been looking out of the window and seen the airfield disappearing in the distance I wouldn’t have known we were in the air.

We flew down the centre of the country and crossed the English Channel with the Isle of Wight below us before touching down in Jersey an hour after take off.

Disembarking the plane, we were welcomed by airport staff, Anthony was handed the keys to a hire car and off we set for a beachfront cafe where we tucked into a full English breakfast and I asked Anthony and Drew more about ASG Finance.

Based at Tankersley near Barnsley, the business has a fund of £70m of its own money for bridging finance for the UK market.

They said because it is not funded by another institution or investors they don’t have any constraints or outside influence on deals they want to do.

“Every deal is unique so client and broker engagement is crucial to us so we can understand and bespoke every deal,” said Drew.

“Anthony and I are the decision makers and we are imaginative in our approach to approving loans,” he added.

After breakfast we were whisked off to enjoy two other beaches on the island before it was time to head back to the airport and return to the mainland.

The return journey was as easy and smooth as the outward one and I concluded that travelling like this beats Ryanair.

So to travel like this every time I realise I have to make enough money to afford it or start a career as a professional travel companion who brings wit, charm, grace and elegance to any journey I’m invited on.

I’ve already got my first booking.

A pensioner that lives nearby has asked me to push her trolley around Morrisons.


WHILE I was away over the summer I received an email that left me lost for words, which I’m sure you would agree is a rare thing.

It was from a lady I have never met called Danielle Crowther.

She said: “I hope you don’t mind me getting in touch but I’m Trevor Cherry’s daughter / Paul Crowther’s wife.

“I’m not quite sure how I found it, but I’ve recently come across the blog post you wrote about my Dad and it made me cry – it’s lovely.

“I have to say you’ve summed him up well. The way you have described him is the way I saw him as my Dad and I have to add he was the best Dad anyone could ever wish for.

“I did however want to let you know that he didn’t die of a heart attack. Although it was sudden he had a pulmonary embolism.

“I’m pleased to say he didn’t suffer, but the shock to me and the rest of his family was huge as I’m sure you can imagine. I don’t really know why it matters to me but I want people who knew him to know what really happened.

“Thank you also for your kind words about Paul. He really enjoyed the shoots he carried out and is pleased the images are on view for people to see.”

Danielle said that my blog about her father, the former England football captain and Leeds United and Huddersfield Town star, made her cry.

Well, her email brought a tear to my eye.

I felt honoured to know Trevor briefly and I’m so happy that my tribute to him was appreciated by his family.

At the time I remember thinking that Trevor was such a fit guy that I was surprised he had a heart attack so Danielle saying that he suffered a pulmonary embolism explains that and I’m sorry I made that mistake in my original piece.

Danielle’s husband Paul Crowther is a very talented portrait photographer who has photographed many well known faces and kindly offered to do portraits of all the ambassadors of the Maggie’s Yorkshire cancer charity – one of whom was his father-in-law Trevor Cherry.

In my reply to Danielle I said that her father was probably the only England football captain of the last 50 years who didn’t write an autobiography, which was probably because he was far too modest.

She told me: “Many people over the years said my Dad should write an autobiography but as you say he just wasn’t that kind of guy. And to be honest it makes his stories all the more special knowing that the people who heard them, heard them first hand rather than reading them in a book.

“I used to love nothing more than listening to his stories from his footballing days, he always had a twinkle in his eye when he was reminiscing.”


FAREWELL then Mikhail Gorbachev.

The last leader of the old Soviet Union died this week at the age of 91.

He was one of the most influential political figures of the 20th century and another huge name who appeared at the Yorkshire International Business Convention.

It might be over a decade since the last YIBC event but the mind still boggles how entrepreneur Mike Firth brought such massive names to Yorkshire to share their stories in front of an audience of business leaders and decision makers.

I remember Gorby taking to the stage in the converted flower hall at the Great Yorkshire Showground.

I can recall little of what he actually said but I remember plenty of the lines delivered by his warm-up man, Jonny Hick.

The Directorbank founder wrote brilliant poems which he delivered in Yorkshire dialect wearing a flat cap.

The premise for his verse to introduce the great Gorbachev was that he’d decided to come from Moscow to Harrogate via canal boat and Jonny recounted this imaginary journey mentioning the places and people he might have met on the way.

“You turn left at Goole, they’re a bit strange there,” was one of the lines – although if I didn’t get it right, Jonny, who has an amazing memory – except when it’s his round – will correct me.

I dropped Mike Firth a line this week when I read the news about Gorby and said I remembered him taking to the stage accompanied by his long-time interpreter, Pavel Palazhchenko, the moustachioed man who was by his side at all the global summits.

“He was a great booking for YIBC, a lovely man,” said Mike.

“His translator could probably have done the presentation for him.

“I thought Gorby`s English was probably OK but the translator bought him time.”

I think that’s what I need for my next speaking gig.


I’M annoyed.

No, I’m livid.

Verging on incandescent with rage.

I listened to the Ultimate Animated Movie Song Countdown on BBC Radio 2 on Bank Holiday Monday.

That three hour show encapsulated what is wrong with much of the world today.

The great British public haven’t got a clue.

In the top 50 songs in cartoon films the best one by a mile actually only squeezed into the list in 50th place.

‘I Wanna Be Like You’ by the great showman Louis Prima from The Jungle Book.

Between 50th place and the “number one” choice of the public voters – Randy Newman with `’You’ve Got a Friend in Me’ from Toy Story – was a collection of forgettable ditties from animated films from recent years.

Not a mention for another Jungle Book classic, ‘The Bare Necessities’, or anything from The Aristocats.

If that’s what the Great British public think, then to misquote King Louie from the film: I don’t wanna be like you.

Have a great weekend.

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