The top 10 people taking Yorkshire forward

PUBLISHED: 11:42 13 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:19 20 February 2013

We select 10 people who, through their work or reputation, raise Yorkshire's profile around the world and help to shape the region's future

Lord Sebastian Coe KBE

Britains greatest ever middle distance runner may have been born in London but he was forged as an athlete in Sheffield. As a 12-year-old he joined Hallamshire Harriers and won just about every junior title before going on to win two Olympic gold medals and claim eight world records. His career reached the finishing line in 1989 and he is now after a spell as a Conservative MP chair of the organising committee for the 2012 London Olympics. And although the games wont exactly be on our doorstep, Lord Coe has repeatedly said that they will leave a lasting legacy for communities all over the UK.

Alan Titchmarsh MBE

Ilkley-born Titchmarsh left school at the age of 15 and took a job as an apprentice gardener with Ilkley Council. He is now the countrys best-known and best-loved horticulturalist, television gardener, presenter and broadcaster. But when he takes off his gardening gloves and hangs up his secateurs for the day he turns his green fingers to novel writing. He has penned six novels since the turn of the century and, along with his 40 gardening books and two autobiographies, a pile of his written works would dwarf a champion sunflower. He was given an MBE in 2000 and became a Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire, where he now lives, in 2001.

Dr John Sentamu

Born in a village near Kampala in Uganda, the sixth of 13 children, Archbishop Dr John Sentamu has joked that his parents must have known he would end up in Yorkshire.

They gave him the middle name Mugabi, which is ee-bah-gum backwards. If they did know, it was less clear to him when he was jailed by Idi Amin who took exception to Sentamus judicial independence. He fled to the UK in 1974, read theology at Cambridge and served in London and Birmigham before being enthroned in York in 2005. Perhaps because of his parents foresight, he has fitted in well and was named Yorkshireman of the Year in 2007.

Linda Barker

Never under-estimate the life changing powers of magazines. When Linda Barker decorated her new flat and the results featured in the glossy pages of an interiors mag, it led to a career in television, where she met her husband. She has presented design programmes, has her own range of interiors products and is now an ambassador for the 2bn regeneration of Bradford, her native city. Linda, a one-time winner of the Yorkshirewoman of the Year title, wants to help it regain its former glory. Its a city I love, its a city I want to do better, she said in a TV documentary which contrasted Bradfords fortunes with neighbouring Leeds.

Christopher Bailey MBE

Few people have done as much for the fashion industry as Halifax-born Christopher Bailey, the 38-year-old creative director at Burberry. The constant gripe about the gear worn by stick thin models on a glamorous catwalk is that the clothes will never transfer to the high street. But walk through any of our town centres and not just Harvey Nick-ed Leeds and youre likely to see some of his Burberry creations; or failing that something from his five years as senior designer at Gucci. Or maybe some of his womens wear designs from Donna Karan. He lives in London these days but has a home in the Yorkshire countryside, not far from his parents home.

Jan Fletcher OBE

Property developments, haulage companies, health products and restaurants is there an end to Jan Fletchers successful business enterprises? Not yet it would seem and hurrah for that as Yorkshire, and especially Leeds, are benefitting very nicely from her work. She is without doubt one of the nations leading entrepreneurs and has a shelf-full of awards to prove it. A passionate Yorkshirewoman, she was founding chair of Marketing Leeds which aims to promote the city nationally and internationally with the slogan: Leeds, Live It, Love It, and is involved a major regeneration project at City One. She also actively supports a host of charities and good causes.

Simon Beaufoy

Elsewhere in this magazine Simon Beaufoy is given a reprimand by Martin Wainwright for not writing films which show Yorkshire in a more positive light. True, Brassed Off and The Full Monty didnt show the county at its best but they were successful movies. They werent in the same in league as Slumdog Millionaire, though. That was the film which won Beaufoy who was born at Glusburn near Keighley, his Oscar and catapulted him to international fame. Although he now lives in London, he comes back to Yorkshire as often as he can and regards his native county as the inspiration behind much of his work.

Gary Verity

He describes himself as a career chief executive, who, wherever he goes, attracts success. He was former group MD of Prontaprint and Kall Kwik and former MD of Johnsons Cleaners UK and he ran Bradford & Bingleys retail property services for two years achieving a turnaround from four years of losses into profit and sell off. Hes also an award-winning sheep farmer at his family home in Coverdale near Leyburn. Today he heads Yorkshire tourism which he has rebranded as Welcome to Yorkshire and he has launched a radical image change for the county to drive up the number of visitors. As we go to print he is in the US preparing to run the New York marathon with a group of friends to celebrate his wife Helen who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The run is in support of Marie Curie.

Lesley Garrett CBE

Shes Doncaster born and proud of it. Her starry career takes her around the world but she remains passionate about Yorkshire. Lesley, a celebrated soprano, even dedicated one of her CDs When I Fall in Love to Yorkshire. The album was inspired by the memory of singing with her father, a Doncaster signalman and then a headmaster, who had a rich tenor voice. They would sing classical and folk music together. She attributes her musical success to her Yorkshire upbringing saying: I had a fantastic musical upbringing in Yorkshire and without that I wouldnt be the singer I am today. She has kept her house in Yorkshire and recognises enormous beauty and nostalgia in the industrial architecture of South Yorkshire.

Paul Sykes

Paul Sykes, the son of a Barnsley miner, is the embodiment of the rags-to-riches story. He left school with no qualifications and launched his first business dismantling buses and selling scrap to the Far East. From there, via several other business ventures, he became one of the wealthiest men in Britain worth, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, about 520million. He built Sheffields Meadowhall Shopping Complex which was one of Britains first massive scale malls it was the second biggest shopping centre in the UK when it opened in 1990. In recent times he has paired up with Sir Ranulph Fiennes to help raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care and other charities.

Who have we left out? Nominate the people you think deserve a place on our list of people who make Yorkshire great. Register and leave a comment below

0 comments

Most Read

Latest from the Yorkshire Life