David Parkin on seeing double, Tour de Yorkshire triumph, Leeds United and Huddersfield Town

TWO David Parkins.

What a prospect.

I can hear women fainting across Britain.

And beyond.

But last night, about 8.15pm in a marquee near Harrogate, that is what mankind (and the ladies) were faced with.

Up popped my visage on the big screens at the Variety Yorkshire Property Awards where I was presenting some video films about some of the night’s winners.

I turned around from my seat near the stage to look out across the 800-strong black tie audience but nobody recognised me as it was too dark.

After a short introductory piece filmed outside the offices of law firm Addleshaw Goddard in Leeds, where the awards judging took place, I then popped up on the 12th floor roof terrace of the new Platform building above Leeds station, where, perhaps appropriately, I have an office.

The building, redeveloped very impressively by property firm Bruntwood, won one of the night’s three Game Changer awards, given to projects which have made a big impact within the region.

Then to bring the video segment to a close I appeared in the plush Salon Privee bar of luxury Leeds hotel Dakota Deluxe.

One of the features of the Yorkshire Property Awards, organised by Variety, The Children’s Charity at Rudding Park near Harrogate, is that they have introduced a bit of fun into the event so it isn’t just about the awards.

So in a series of confessions, key players in the market were exposed for past sins and members of the Yorkshire Property Awards committee had the chance to decide whether they were forgiven, or not, for these misdemeanours.

They included a city council taking seven months to pay its bill for tickets to last year’s event, property man Colin Fell pinching the ‘Game Changer’ name to promote the Central Square development in Leeds and one cheeky guest putting his entire drinks bill on Yorkshire Property Awards sponsor Richard Boothroyd’s tab at last year’s do.

I ended my piece to camera by toasting guests with champagne, urging them to dig deep to support the Variety charity and then asking my waiter to put my champagne on Mr Boothroyd’s bill.

Well I thought it was funny.

And I’ll treasure the sound of 800 people tittering for a long time.

And the fact that for one night only there were two David Parkins.

As I was leaving the event one guest shouted at me: “How’s your doppelgänger?”

“It’s fine thanks,” I replied, thinking the question rather personal.

“And why wouldn’t it be? Michelsberg Tailoring made this suit and James, like any good tailor, knows which side I dress on and that I like a high rise to my trouser.”

Cheeky devil.


THE glow from the Tour de Yorkshire is still shimmering over the county.

Four days of cycling competition under sunny skies and with millions thronging the routes made for an incredible experience and echoed those heady days of four years go when Sir Gary Verity and his team at Welcome to Yorkshire audaciously delivered a stunning Tour de France Grand Depart in Yorkshire.

The question always was then, how do you top it?

Gary’s shrewd assessment at the time was to make sure that in bringing the world’s biggest annual sporting event to Yorkshire, it created a legacy.

Last weekend’s event certainly showed that.

Apparently 2.6m lined the routes of the mens and womens Tour de Yorkshire races across the county and news emerged that Yorkshire may soon host a stage of the Spanish grand tour, the Vuelta a Espana.

With the Tour de France Grand Depart almost certain to return at some point in the future as well as the UCI Road World Championships being hosted hear in 2019 that is some legacy.

More importantly it is the thousands of cyclists who come to Yorkshire to ride its roads each year as well as the Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries, a superb legacy project developed by Welcome to Yorkshire and Yorkshire Bank which gives every child in the county access to ride a bike by borrowing one from a series of ‘libraries’ around the region.

I watched the finish of the Tour de Yorkshire men’s race on the sun-drenched Headrow in Leeds last Sunday afternoon.

The beautiful weather along with Leeds United playing at home ensured a packed city centre – Greek Street’s bars resembled Glastonbury – but a wonderful atmosphere as crowds watched the big screens relaying stage winner, the French rider Stephane Rossetto, take a strong lead as he slogged his way through the Yorkshire countryside then the Leeds suburbs before racing into the heart of the city.

It was a cracking afternoon and as I walked along the Headrow afterwards there was an incredible buzz. I bumped into two friendly faces, Michael Gwilliam and Dan Bardgett, the likeable team who run Yorkshire-based events and marketing business XSEM.

They are working on several exciting projects which they told me they would update me on over a long lunch (don’t forget lads).

Driving through Leeds the morning after the Tour de Yorkshire was also interesting.

You would never have believed that just hours before tens of thousands of people had been there, all with drinks, food, flags and banners.

It was a slick and impressive clean-up operation by Leeds City Council.

Just a couple of days later the event was being praised by the Prime Minister.

The Tour de Yorkshire showed off the “best of Britain”, Theresa May said.

Mrs May praised the cycling race which returned to the region at the Bank Holiday weekend, drawing an estimated 2.6m fans to the roadside, including 900,000 on the final day.

She spoke after York Outer MP Julian Sturdy invited her to attend next year’s Tour de Yorkshire, praising this year’s “finest hospitality, with images of the UK’s beautiful countryside beamed to millions around the world.”

The PM replied: “It was indeed very good to see millions of people on the roads of Yorkshire cheering on the Tour de Yorkshire as it took place this Bank Holiday weekend.

“As you say, these events are not only hugely enjoyable for sports fans but they also bring huge economic benefit to the area and they show off the best of Britain in the world.”

It makes you think that if our politicians learned from our tourism chiefs then a little more might be achieved.


LEEDS United are currently on their controversial end of season tour to Myanmar.

One has been ruled for years by a succession of dictatorial and eccentric leaders and has been shunned by the outside world while its people have endured misery and suffering.

And the other is Myanmar.


WITH the need to get more than one point from their last three matches against champions Manchester City, Champion’s League-chasing Chelsea and an Arsenal team bidding farewell to Arsene Wenger, Huddersfield Town’s Premier League future looked pretty shaky last week.

But battling away draws against City and Chelsea ensured that David Wagner’s side live to fight another season in the promised land of the Premier League.

When the final whistle went at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, Town’s fans understandably went nuts.

That included the club’s most famous fan, Hollywood star Sir Patrick Stewart, who I saw embracing and kissing a friend of mine, former insurance entrepreneur Martin Sykes.

When Huddersfield were promoted to the Premier League I wrote that commentators should avoid cliches about “plucky little Huddersfield” and remember that here is a club with top division pedigree – ok its three back-to-back league titles were won in the 1920s – an inspiring manager, hard working players, a locally-born and committed owner and fans with an enthusiasm and heart that I’ve not seen bettered.

And throughout a rollercoaster of a season I’ve seen a lyricism to some of the words of the Huddersfield Town fans I know.

The challenges of a marathon campaign have brought out a poetic nature in their postings on social media, far removed from the usual footballing cliches.

And then I got a text from Town fan Andy Needham, who owns Approved Foods.

“F**k me, what a finish to season.”

Well even poets need a dose of earthy reality.

Have a great weekend.

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