David Parkin on a source of seaside success

OH I do like to be beside the seaside.

I know we are promised that today will be the hottest day of the year so far – hands up if you are “working from home” – but I enjoyed a positively balmy sojourn in Bridlington this time last week.

The early morning drive through the lush North and East Yorkshire countryside was a joy as was driving through villages with wonderful names such as Wetwang, Fridaythorpe and Burton Agnes.

I was on my way to the annual (well at least before Covid got involved) The Business Day conference at Bridlington Spa.

Organised by a team led by former East Riding Council leader Stephen Parnaby, from previous visits I know that the event attracts a who’s who of those who run businesses in Hull, the East Riding and the Yorkshire Coast.

I’d been invited to host a breakout session at the event which featured headline speaker the perfume and candle maker Jo Malone.

My friend Dominic Gibbons, who is the managing director of successful Hull-based property development and investment company the Wykeland Group, was sponsoring the session alongside Beal Homes, the housebuilder with which it has partnered to breathe new life into the Fruit Market beside Hull Marina.

It is a fantastic destination, with lovely restaurants, cafes, bars, a digital hub, an outdoor performance area as well as offices and new homes.

Wykeland Group are behind some of the region’s largest strategic developments such as Flemingate in Beverley and the Bridgehead and Melton West business parks to the West of the City of Hull where they have just announced that global medical products business Smith & Nephew is moving to a new purpose-built base.

Alongside all that Dominic has also become the chair of the regional cultural organisation HEY Creative.

Our session, running alongside the main business conference and exhibition, focused on culture’s importance to the economy.

And who better to host a discussion on culture than myself?

I explained to the audience that I was one of the founder members of an annual cultural tour of Hull which starts with a visit to a museum and then visits a number of historic buildings – known as pubs.

The event attracted an audience of over 100 business people to hear short presentations and then a Q&A session by Dominic and Pete Massey, director for Northern Economy and Partnerships at Arts Council England as well as Chris Murray, director of Core Cities UK.

Pete is based in the Arts Council’s Leeds office and leads a team of 20 specialist staff responsible for strategic partnerships work across the north.

When I introduced him I said I was particularly impressed by his Twitter handle: @Art4theMasseys

Chris has worked at the forefront of UK urban policy – and with cities internationally – for over 20 years.

In his role as director of Core Cities UK, a collaboration between the major UK cities outside London, he has helped lead a nationwide process of decentralisation and devolution to cities.

The presentations and discussion focused on how, in the new economy, culture is a huge and ever-growing factor and –  where culture thrives, so too does business.

A vibrant cultural scene powers successful places.

It generates confidence, local pride, creativity, investment and growth.

It also retains and attracts talent, providing businesses with the people they need to prosper.

All three speakers spoke about how culture can boost businesses, cities and region and urged business people to get involved in cultural organisations, not just backing them with money, but donating their time too.

It was an interesting and engaging session and my attention was caught when Pete sounded like he was criticising Chris’ work at Core Cities UK.

He wasn’t and quickly clarified he was referring to a different organisation with a similar name.

When I returned to the stage to host the question and answer session I said that when I first heard what Pete had said earlier I was planning to can the Q&A and just shout: “Fight!”


THE Wykeland-Beal stand at The Business Day conference was widely adjudged to be the best one at the event.

While other exhibitors had virtual reality headsets, robots, games machines and the like, Wykeland-Beal had recreated the cobbled streets of Hull’s Fruit Market and were brewing fresh coffee and serving cakes all made by businesses based in their development.

So if you want to attract interest, forget virtual reality, artificial intelligence and the like.

What’s the answer?



“WHAT’S going on with your football club?”

I’ve been asked that question countless times over the last few months – and plenty of times in the last week.

And the answer is…I haven’t got a clue.

But then quite a few people involved in the protracted process of buying and selling Derby County don’t seem to either.

Which is a concern.

American businessman Chris Kirchner, walked away from buying the League One club which has been in administration for nine months, earlier this week.

He’d been given several weeks of exclusivity to get the deal done by the joint administrators and despite having that period extended and funds being poised in international bank accounts, withdrew his bid.

He seemed to put more energy into playing in the pro-am tournament that preceded the first Saudi Arabia-backed LIV golf tournament in Hertfordshire last week.

He joins an ever growing list of potential buyers of Derby County which includes Sheikh Khaled, a cousin of the Manchester City owner from Abu Dhabi who had also been involved in failed deals to buy both Liverpool and Newcastle United.

And then there was 29-year-old Spanish fantasist Erik Alonso, who claimed he was a former world boxing champion and posted social media photos of himself reclining on a private jet.

His ambitions to own a football club came crashing down after he posted video on social media of a stunning hilltop mansion with the sun streaming in through its floor to ceiling windows accompanied by the caption: “Good morning”.

Nice. Until a little bit of research by a student who was a Derby County fan – who I’m proud to say is my godson – found that Alonso had pinched it from a Tik Tok video about a £42m luxury home posted by a Los Angeles real estate agent.

It reminds me of the time I was covering the rollercoaster story of Leeds United when I was at the Yorkshire Post in the early 2000s.

Potential bidders for the club included a fake sheikh, a phoney professor and a Ugandan tycoon whose source of wealth appeared something of a mystery.

After that lot, I’m not surprised that most Leeds fans breathed a sigh relief when their club eventually fell into the hands of former Chelsea chairman Ken Bates.

At Derby we would happily take retail entrepreneur and former Newcastle owner Mike Ashley.

At least he’s got the money, shown an interest in buying the club and owns a business based in the county.

And unlike the recently departed Kirchner, he won’t get involved in Twitter conversations with fans setting out his strategy for the club.

Yes he wasn’t very popular with Geordies for much of his time at Newcastle, but after nine months on the brink we have no delusions of grandeur.

Wayne Rooney did an incredible job of galvanising the players and the fans last season despite the many setbacks.

I helped organise and host an event for transport group Stagecoach at Derby County’s Pride Park stadium a couple of weeks ago and the events, catering, IT and security team were a joy to work with.

Professional, upbeat and focused, you would never have guessed that they have had to do their jobs for the last nine months while a cloud hung over them.

Clearly Rooney’s positive approach has spread through the whole club.

You can’t buy something like that, but it will pay dividends for whoever eventually does become the new owner of Derby County.


“IT’S me, love…I’m the Yorkshire Ripper.”

They were the words that Peter Sutcliffe spoke to his wife Sonia following his arrest in 1981.

That admission by the bearded lorry driver marked the end of a killing spree which had terrorised northern England for five grim years during which he had murdered 13 women and attempted to kill seven more.

During that time in which a deranged serial was seemingly striking in random places, women feared leaving their home after dark and, after his arrest, the nation was appalled yet gripped by the Ripper.

And despite the millions of words and countless headlines being written about the case since Sutcliffe’s arrest more than 40 years ago, the writers of a new book about his story say that it has never been told – until now.

Based on a vast quantity of raw material collected from Sutcliffe himself over a period of 16 years, I’m the Yorkshire Ripper, Conversations With a Killer is “the compelling account of the most terrifying series of murders in British history – much of it in the killer’s own words”.

The recently published book by Robin Perrie and Alfie James is an impressive work and a collaboration between a tabloid journalist who has covered countless stories about Sutcliffe and a man – Alfie James is a pseudonym – who became a trusted visitor to the serial killer when he was incarcerated in Broadmoor and Frankland prison before the killer’s death in November 2020.

I’ve been sent a couple of copies of the book thanks to Robin Perrie, a former Yorkshire Post journalist who is a northern-based reporter for The Sun newspaper.

He went to Leeds University to study law. Every day his bus would pass within yards of where Jacqueline Hill, also a Leeds University student and Sutcliffe’s final victim, had been murdered a few years earlier.

After graduating in 1989 he edited the student newspaper for a year before working on local papers in Leeds alongside reporters who had covered the Ripper story from day one.

Their tales of the case fired his imagination even more for a story which had always fascinated him.

He joined The Sun in 1995 and  covered countless stories about Sutcliffe who was by now serving a full-life term and would never be released.

This involved interviewing his family, relatives of his murder victims and survivors of his attacks and led to him eventually securing direct access to Sutcliffe himself via Alfie James who had been communicating with him since 2004.

When Sutcliffe died in November 2020 he authored a 12-page supplement for The Sun based on the same material provided by Alfie which forms the core of their book, which has actually been published by Mirror Books.

It is packed with information but written with a fast-paced and page-turning style you would expect of an experienced tabloid newspaper journalist.

The paperback is currently available at half price – £4.50 – on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1913406903/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_HKACXAFCF0FSS7VNDRMF


WHICH leading Leeds-based corporate finance lawyer recently revealed to me that he is a distant relative of Carry On film star Barbara Windsor?

Answers on a saucy seaside postcard please.


Have a great weekend.

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