David Parkin on a YABL night out and a drug dealer with a difference

The Yorkshire Asset Based Lending Dinner attracted 500 people to New Dock Hall in Leeds last night for an event that has already become something of an institution in the Yorkshire business community in just five years.

I pointed out to the audience that I hadn’t seen a gathering of that much talent from the asset based lending and financial sector since Happy Hour at The Purple Door.

I compered the event and pointed out to the lively audience that I achieved a new career high last night – warm up man for Chris Silverwood.

The Ethos Corporate Finance founder is the man behind YABL, has it has become known, and the event delivered more than £10,000 to a charity connected to Macmillan Cancer Care, the fantastically named Wig Wham Thank You Mam.

The brainchild of Alan Williams from Harrogate, 15 years ago his wife Jean was diagnosed with breast cancer, her successful fight with the disease inspired him to raise £25,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support by running the London Marathon in 2015.

This year Alan and Jean decided to continue fundraising by creating the Wig Wham project. When people are diagnosed with cancer those patients who are prescribed chemotherapy treatment invariably lose their hair and many patients will choose to wear a wig.

All patients have to pay for their wigs, and for some that cost is just too much. That is where Wig Wham Thank You Mam comes in.

The charity will not only provide the funds to purchase that patient’s wig, they will also put them in touch with their partner hairdresser Peter Gotthard who will personalise the wig for each patient.

Auctioneer James Pank of Auction House West Yorkshire did a great job with a variety of lots ranging from a stay in hotel suites to zoo keeper for a day at top North Yorkshire destination Flamingoland, donated by owner Gordon Gibb.

James is used to auctioning houses, so I think Dave Jones of Reward Finance was slightly shocked when his successful bid on a lot was knocked down for £700,000 rather than £700.

Mind you, I’m sure he could afford it.

The main sponsor of the event was Ultimate Finance and other sponsors included Reward Finance, Leumi ABL and Barton Withers.

Entertainment included inept hospital radio DJ Ivan Brackenbury, the creation of comedian Tom Binns.

He broadcast a spoof show, picking a variety of inappropriate songs to accompany his descriptions of various patients’ ailments.

Former cricketer Paul Nixon recounted some stories from his career while comedian Ted Robbins told the audience it was nice to get on stage and last for more than three minutes.

In January last year, minutes into the first night of Phoenix Nights Live for Comic Relief at the Manchester Arena, Ted, who played Den Perry, the club-owning nemesis of Peter Kay’s Brian Potter in Phoenix Nights, suffered a massive heart attack.

He said his life was saved by Leeds paramedic Gary Loker, who was sitting in the front row of the audience.

Gary performed CPR on the comedian for 15 minutes before medical teams arrived and had to work so hard that Ted said he had 12 broken ribs and a cracked sternum by the end of it.

Ted brought Gary along last night and introduced him to the audience.

Now Ted, who played Tony Cluedo, the lead singer of Creme Brûlée in The League of Gentlemen, and Barry Quid in Birds of a Feather and even had an uncredited role as a shot putter in Chariots of Fire, is fully recovered and has gained a great role as ghost hunter Brendan Finch, love interest of Mary Taylor in Coronation Street.

Apparently Peter Kay has written a part for him in his new series of Car Share.

It’s a pity Phoenix Nights isn’t returning too, that show is a true modern classic.


THE report of the death of drug dealer turned celebrity Howard Marks was accompanied by a rather surprising headline this week.

“Leeds businessman dies following cancer diagnosis.”

True, in later years Welshman Marks had owned a stake in a South American-themed restaurant in Leeds, which does, it must be said, qualify him as a man of commerce, an entrepreneur indeed.

But given that he was convicted of drugs offences in the US and sentenced to a total of 25 years in jail in 1990 after dealing in drugs during the 1970s and 1980s, the first description one might not have selected for him was “businessman”.

I’d suggest even the late Mr Marks himself would be turning in his grave at such a classification.

But that might be too much effort for the laid back character that was Marks.

Wherever he is now, he’s probably just grinning and taking an extra-long drag on his spliff.

Have a great weekend.

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