David Parkin ponders his microcosm

IT’S a small world.

The reality of that struck home several times following last week’s blog.

I mentioned that on a recent trip to Yorkshire’s county cricket match at Scarborough I sat next to former York businessman turned vicar Michael Sinclair in a marquee that included big names from Yorkshire cricket including Sir Geoffrey Boycott and Dickie Bird.

At a subsequent lunch with engaging and experienced PR man Robert Beaumont, he told me that as a York City fan he praised Michael as one of the club’s best chairman in recent decades.

At the lunch at Scarborough Michael had recounted the story of an horrific traffic accident at the 1990 World Cup in which he and football manager Harry Redknapp, who he had got to know when he was chairman of York City,  were among the passengers in a minibus that was hit head-on by a car on a road south of Rome.

The crash killed Redknapp’s friend Brian Tiler and three of the passengers in the car.

Tiler was  a former footballer who had played for Rotherham and Aston Villa and became managing director at AFC Bournemouth.

I told Michael it was a small world because I knew Brian Tiler’s late brother Paul and his wife Kathleen, friends of my parents and who lived near us in rural Derbyshire.

Well an email from Kathleen made the world an even smaller place, or as she adroitly described it, “circles within circles”.

She told me: “Paul as a young chap played cricket with the Yorkshire League (Rotherham and Sheffield United) and Yorkshire Colts. Alongside Boycott and Bird etc. Small world. Enjoyed your article courtesy of your Mum.”

Yes, my mother Pat, my biggest critic (“You forgot a comma in your second paragraph this week, dear”.) but also not shabby at doing my public relations.

That’ll cost me a glass of wine next time I see her.


TALKING of Geoffrey Boycott, food entrepreneur and Yorkshire International Business Convention founder Mike Firth told me that when he went to California in the 1990s and bought the dried fruits business of Del Monte, the Yorkshire and England cricket icon got in touch.

Boycott suggested that he become an ambassador for the company.

There is an idiom that you may or may not have heard of that originated in the North of England: “Shy bairns get nowt”.

And Boycott, who you could never accuse of being self-effacing, certainly subscribes to that approach.

Mike said he never took the ex-cricketer up on his offer but it made me ponder what Boycott could have brought to such a role.

Warmth, charm, an interest in talking to other people about their lives and interests – and, given it was Del Monte, a Panama hat.

Well at least he had the hat.


The small world theme continued with an email from businessman Richard Jackson who I also mentioned in last week’s blog.

“Glad you met Michael Sinclair at Scarborough, what a lovely man and his son Adam too,” said Richard.

I had also mentioned I spoke to Costcutter founder and former ECB and Yorkshire County Cricket Club chairman Colin Graves.

“He and I were on the Board together at Grimsby Town FC 1998-2002. Another tale for you, next time we meet?” said Richard.

I hope so.

In the meantime Richard was recently in London to be honoured with a prestigious national award from a charity with royal roots.

The former chairman of Nidd Vale Motors has been awarded the Order of Mercy medal for his distinguished voluntary service over many years from The League of Mercy Foundation.

The original version of this charity was established in 1899 by royal charter of Queen Victoria in order to recruit a large number of volunteers to aid the sick and suffering at charity hospitals.

Richard, who is also a former chairman of the Prince’s Trust in Yorkshire, was commended, in particular, for his contribution to the Leeds charity PHAB which cares for people with disabilities and their able bodied friends.

The charity, which he has supported as a patron for the last 45 years, is based at The Prince Philip Centre off Scott Hall Road in Leeds and which Richard tells me is unique because it is the only building in the UK named after His Late Royal Highness.

The Rt Hon the Lord Lingfield, President of the League of Mercy, who presented the award, said: “Mr Jackson has done extraordinary work for those most in need.

“He is a marvellous example of someone whose longstanding and voluntary dedication to the service and welfare of others is remarkable.”

Richard told me: “It is indeed a special award, as they only confer the Honour on up to a maximum of 30 recipients each year. Clearly I was very proud and humbled to be recognised in this way.”

The awards ceremony took place at The Mansion House, London in the presence of

HRH Princess Katerina of Yugoslavia and other distinguished guests.

Now, I’ve never met said Princess Katerina but I have watched the soap opera Dynasty.

That featured the US-born actress Catherine Oxenberg who I vaguely remember is descended from Yugoslavian royalty.

A quick trip to Wikipedia tells me her mother is Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia and Catherine, who has used her royal bearing to twice play Diana, Princess of Wales on screen, also married the Hollywood producer Robert Evans – who worked on The Godfather and Chinatown – in 1998 but it was annulled after nine days.

If the question ever comes up in a pub quiz, you’ll thank me for that information.


MICHAEL Sinclair’s son Adam was one of the hosts for law firm Andrew Jackson at the cricket and, in another addendum to the “small world” story, I received an email from an old friend of mine from Derbyshire who had read the blog.

When he started at law firm Stephenson Harwood in London in the 1990s he worked with Adam.

Never mind small world, I’m starting to feel distinctly claustrophobic.

Have a great weekend.

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