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December 10 2013 Latest news:
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One of Yorkshire's leading estate agents, Stewart Charnock-Bates, describes how growing up in Calderdale was all about sport and the countryside
Halifax Town Football Club was my passion as a boy growing up in Halifax. My father Dennis was and still is probably their biggest fan. He introduced me to football before I could even walk, taking my elder brother Martin and I to every single home game to support our team, whatever the weather.
The excitement of receiving my first treasured pair of football boots at the age of four is memory I shall never forget. That day inspired me to aim for the stars and dream of becoming the next George Best playing for Halifax Town.
Our family life revolved mainly around sport and animals. At the weekends I would spend my time volunteering at the local RSPCA and often get up at dawn so that I could enjoy some wild bird spotting at Parknook, Southowram with my late Uncle Eric.
He taught me everything I know about wild birds, from their habitats and distinctive calls to being able to identify each fascinating, individual breed. After a spot of breakfast and a quick warm up at home, Id head straight out to West View Park, Highroad Well with dad and Martin to play football or cricket, another of my fathers great passions.
Sir Geoffrey Boycott, Yorkshires greatest cricketer was my inspiration to play the quintessentially English sport at every possible opportunity. I was highly competitive and it was my dream and ambition to become a professional in either football or cricket.
Playing for Yorkshire would have been a great honour and evoked a great sense of pride. My mother, Nancy was also a sport fanatic and could often be seen cheering us on, but perhaps not quite as enthusiastic about the endless piles of team kit she had to launder each week. Thanks mum!
All of our kit and wickets had to travel everywhere with us, even on our family holidays to the Yorkshire and Lancashire coasts. I have many fond memories of us playing on Scarborough beach, taking in the fresh ocean scent and listening to the echo of the crashing waves and seagull calls.
Theres nothing better than a game on the beach followed by a delicious portion of fresh fish and chips, saturated in salt and vinegar and cocooned in last weeks Yorkshire Post. Fish and chips simply dont seem quite so appealing on a plate or in a not-so-traditional Styrofoam carton.
The many years spent kicking a football around West View Park eventually paid off when I reached the age of 18 and signed to Halifax Town FC. It was an absolute dream come true for me, until a painful injury to my left foot caused me to resign and sadly my football dreams were shattered. Despite this, I refused to give up on my sporting ambitions. I decided that if I couldnt play football then Id turn to cricket.
I captained Warley Cricket Club in the 1980s although my aspiration to give Sir Geoffrey Boycott a run for his money was also doomed by injury.
Fond memories of Uncle Eric are close to my heart, it was he who would take me to into the Calderdale countryside.
I adored looking at the numerous period country houses nestled in the picturesque valleys, never thinking for one second that not too far in the future I would be valuing and selling so many of them. This year we, Charnock Bates Chartered Surveyors, celebrate our 20th anniversary.