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Yorkshire? Now you're talking!

To celebrate Yorkshire Day, CHRIS TITLEY asks some well known Tykes: what does Yorkshire mean to you?

Beryl Otley, boss of Get Ahead Hats

I WAS born in Poppleton and I live in Poppleton. I am a great traveller: I have been to many parts of the world with my husband. I don't always look forward to coming home, but when I do come home, I realise how nice it is.

My father was a Kentishman and my mother was from Hampshire. They moved up here in the First World War. My father had an awful saying about York, that it was poor, proud and pretty, but he may have had a point. We don't have much in the way of great industry, but we have a lot going for us. We are very proud of what we have in York, and it's certainly pretty - that goes for all Yorkshire.

Yorkshire is a lot of different things: the scenery, the people, the genuineness. We have the wonderful coastline: I have a daughter who lives in Scarborough and I always love going.

You get a very broad spectrum of people in Yorkshire. We are cautious. We don't tend to suffer fools gladly. But when we know it's right, we know it's right.

We are a tough lot. We have weathered all sorts of problems. But I think our times are just coming.

You look at Leeds. Look at the wealth that is being created, how many people are commuting here from the south.

People talk about Royal Ascot in York. I don't think York needs Ascot. We tend to put ourselves down far too much.

If I had to leave, I would miss the variety of the scenery and the people: the conversation and depth of character.

You have only got to go into a small pub - not one of those colour-co-ordinated jobs.

If you sit quietly in a corner you could write a million books from what you heard.


John Redpath, York town crier

I WAS born in Winterscale Street in York 57 years ago. I've always loved Yorkshire. It is a great county.

Since I became town crier I have learned a lot more about it: I didn't realise how good it is.

Americans love it. They like the old things. We had the Roman festival on Saturday. They thought it was brilliant.

The steam trains are really popular: I did one the other week to Scarborough that knocked everybody out. And the Endeavour in Whitby is great.

The people here are special. Londoners think we're really outspoken.

We call a shovel a shovel, all that rubbish. You know where you stand with Yorkshire folk. They know what they want and they say what they want.

If they asked me to emigrate I wouldn't go. I'd miss it all. The people, everything. I couldn't live without Yorkshire fish and chips. And I love Yorkshire bitter: John Smith's of Tadcaster.

The only thing I fall down on, I don't really like cricket. But I like Dickie Bird.

We've got a great sense of humour, and great comics like Johnny Casson of Halifax, and Billy Pearce. The TV likes to come here with Heartbeat and Emmerdale.

If a TV researcher asked me what to film, I'd say do a series on town criers. I'm amazed nobody's ever done one about town criers.


Penny Abbey, cookery tutor and writer

I WAS born in Leeds, I live in Stillington, I went to university in Sheffield and now I teach at Queen Ethelburga's, Thorpe Underwood.

Everybody says it's the friendliness of Yorkshire people that makes it special. It's amazing. Friends who come up from down south always comment on the way people smile and talk to other people in the street.

One of my daughters emigrated for a short time to Kent. She said people would go into a shop and nobody would ask "how are you?" When she returned from exile - she now sensibly lives in York - she said you go out and expect to be greeted.

The scenery everywhere you go is wonderful. So are the tastes. There isn't anything like Brymor ice cream, because it's family-made and fresh. You have to queue for a while at its parlour at Masham because it's such a top quality product it sells itself.

And there's Yorkshire pudding. My granny was from an old mining family in Leeds. They had it to start the meal. You made an immense Yorkshire pudding and loads and loads of gravy. It filled you up, because meat was expensive.

Then you had your meat and two veg. If there was any pudding left over it was served with jam at the end.


Steve Reed, York storeman and ferret fancier

I WAS born and bred in Hull. I keep getting some stick down here from people saying "you're not even a Yorkie" but it was Yorkshire then and it still is Yorkshire. I moved to York when I was ten, 42 years ago.

Yorkshire is the best place in Britain. We have got a caravan at Filey, and we go there a good few weekends. My brother's got one in Whitby and we walk across the moors.

Yorkshire people are just friendly. If you go anywhere else, they don't have time for you. In Wales they all speak behind your back in their mother tongue and you don't know what they're saying.

Yorkshire people have a tougher upbringing, unlike London where they're molly-coddled. If they get an inch of snow in London, they make a big fuss about it. If there's six inches of snow forecast in Yorkshire they just say, it's going to snow, forget about it.

My favourite food is roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. I love Yorkshire pudding. You can do all sorts with it. And steam puddings, treacle tarts with custard, nothing like that namby-pamby Black Forest Gateau.

But I can't drink bitter at all. It doesn't do anything for me. That's my failing. I can drink any amount of lager.

I got my four ferrets from a sanctuary at South Cave near Hull. There's definitely a bond between a Yorkshireman and his ferret. At work I don't have girlie pictures but pictures of my ferrets on the wall. On TV programmes like Last of the Summer Wine, they always get a mention, and Richard Whiteley got bitten by a ferret.

Go to Scotland and they have never heard of them. It's a Yorkshire animal and I'm a Yorkshire animal. If you call Hull Yorkshire, which it is.

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