David Parkin meets rabbits and muppets at the Great Yorkshire Show

YOU know you’re at the Great Yorkshire Show when you patiently wait for a pack of beagles to cross the road in front of you and walk contentedly around a barn staring at prize-winning rabbits (the English Spot is like Thumper crossed with Perdita from 101 Dalmatians).

Having failed to get a VIP car parking pass (blogs don’t count here, but the editor of The Dalesman can leave his sedan chair right next to the main gate) I had a feeling I might have a bit of a walk when I found a space to park my car in a field next to a temporary toilet block.

But then I realised it was there for those people who had travelled a long way to the annual three-day jamboree for country folk and the rest of us who don our Hunters and Barbour for the odd country stroll.

The GYS celebrated its 160th anniversary this year and is the largest agricultural show in the UK attracting 130,000 visitors and 8,500 animals over its three days.

It is a wonderful blend of town and country where you see ruddy-faced men emerging from their cars speaking to their families like their cattle: “C’mon then, let’s get at ‘em.”

The show holds the annual Cock O’The North competition – I helpfully suggested several candidates until I realised it is a showjumping event.

I was there on Tuesday to attend a business breakfast hosted by Welcome to Yorkshire.

Fresh from attending the start of the Tour de France, Sir Gary Verity gave a rousing update on what his organisation is doing to boost the region’s economy.

This was backed up by new research from Sheffield Hallam University that found that this year’s Tour de Yorkshire bike race delivered £98m of benefit to the economy.

Given the resignations from Theresa May’s Cabinet Sir Gary said he was a bit worried his deputy Peter Dodd would be getting a call to join the Government.

But Peter is a talented businessman, great negotiator and builds strong relationships so I don’t think he’d fit in.

After the breakfast event I walked around the vast Welcome to Yorkshire enclosure which again this year boasted a mini Scarborough beach complete with donkeys and a bar stocked with Theakston beers and Slingsby gin.

“Can I interest you in the Yorkshire Pubs and Breweries Trail sir?” said a very polite young lady in a Welcome to Yorkshire T shirt.

“He’ll already know them, Lily,” said one of her colleagues.

I realised that this was Sir Gary’s 15-year-old daughter Lily, who given her enthusiasm, drive and sales and marketing skills is clearly a chip off the old block.

Also at the Welcome to Yorkshire tent were the Row 4 Victory boys – four rugged characters who will tackle the 3,000 mile Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge later this year when they row from the Canary Islands to Antigua.

They are Duncan Roy, a serving Royal Engineer; RAF chief technician Fraser Mowlem; former Royal Marine Glyn Sadler and team captain Will Quarmby, a landscape designer who runs a coffee shop in Sheriff Hutton.

The team’s epic voyage will raise money for the Royal British Legion and they are seeking further sponsorship to fund their challenge.

I like to think I helped broker one of their big sponsorship deals at last year’s Great Yorkshire Show when I introduced the team to Nic Marshall, who runs fast-growing Hull-based call centre business ResQ.

Nic joked that the last brand that four men rowing the Atlantic would want on their boat would be one called ResQ.

The chaps all said they loved the idea and so now the name of Nic’s business proudly adorns the boat.

For more information go to row4victory.com

I found my way to the press centre which was being ably marshalled by former journalists Jo Francisco and Sara Lamper.

Several presenters from the BBC and ITV in Yorkshire were lunching nearby and their polite and measured conversation reminded me why I might have struggled to have successfully made the leap from print to broadcasting journalism.

As I walked into the press room I bumped into several photographers I used to work with including Nigel Roddis, who was known as “Swiss Tony” because his quiff resembled the Fast Show character who was a ladies man car dealer.

When he left his role as Picture Editor of the Yorkshire Post he strolled through the newsroom on a Friday afternoon, waved at the assembled ranks of sub-editors and shouted: “Ta-ra muppets.”

It was that mutual respect and lack of cynicism that always drew me to journalism.


I’M not superstitious but given I had watched England’s dramatic penalty shoot out victory over Colombia at Gianni’s Italian restaurant in Harrogate then it seemed the right place to go to watch the semi-final match against Croatia on Wednesday.

Particularly as lawyer Rodney Dalton said we would again be guests of the owner Gianni Bernardi at the buzzing Kings Road establishment.

And as I always say, football’s not football without a nice crisp glass of Sardinian white and some wafer thin tuna carpaccio.

It turns out that I was definitely at the right place, it was just the wrong result.


I RECEIVED an email from one would-be reader last week who pointed out that the email system of his employer, Highways England, had blocked him from receiving last week’s blog “due to profanity”.

It could possibly have been the headline, which referred to “mucky birds” because I’m sure I didn’t include any swear words in the text.

Actually I did.

I mentioned Brexit.


YOU couldn’t miss the biggest news – other than the World Cup – this week.

We were confronted with an orange-tanned, surgically enhanced, blonde bouffanted, power-crazed figure on our TV screens who drove protesters onto the streets and social media into near meltdown.

That Megan on Love Island has a lot to answer for.

Have a great weekend.

Leave a Comment

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

Scroll to Top