My Yorkshire: Paul Sparkes, Cascade HR

Paul Sparkes is product director at Leeds-based HR and payroll software firm, Cascade HR

Where do you live/where are you from?

I moved to Harrogate, from Dorset, in 2015.

What is your favourite place to visit in Yorkshire and why?

Fountains Abbey – I genuinely think it’s one of the most beautiful National Trust sites in the UK.

What is still on your “to do” list in the region?

I can’t believe I haven’t been to The Great Yorkshire Show. Yet again, it looked brilliant this year, so if I’m to become a true Yorkshireman, I think it needs to be on my calendar for 2019!

What is the most memorable meal you’ve ever had in Yorkshire?

The lamb henry at Will & Vics in Harrogate.

What is your most Yorkshire trait?

I like walking in the great outdoors. I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated getting out in the countryside as much as I do now.

Favourite piece of trivia about the region.

My garden is home to the tomb of Captain Leven, who served in Oliver Cromwell’s army. He was a Quaker whose troops were quartered in the village of Killinghall, where I live. He was jailed for his beliefs but sadly died in 1688, the year before an Act was passed to allow Quakers to worship publicly.

What is your favourite cultural icon to come out of Yorkshire?

“Oh Gromit, get me some more Wenselydale!”

First experience of Yorkshire (for non-Yorkshire folk)

I came here on a school trip to Skipton Castle at the age of 9.

Worst experience or thing about Yorkshire?

Whilst the distinct Yorkshire culture is a good thing, I think it’s a shame that there is still such a North-South divide. People are far friendlier here, so life would be much simpler if everyone was as straight-talking as Yorkshire folk. I think people in Southern England have quite a lot to learn from the county’s traits.

What is one thing you’d steal from Lancashire (or other UK regions) if you could?

I’d steal the beach from Sandbanks, Poole in Dorset, having lived there for 14 years prior to being imported to Yorkshire. I would have loved to have had that on our doorstep this summer!

What is the most overrated thing about Yorkshire?

The beer – I know this might not go down well with some readers, but I’ve spent my early adult life drinking Adnams ale, brewed in Suffolk and, as yet, nothing has come close!