Ben Parkinson: How I was named greatest Yorkshireman

Ben Parkinson's visit Immanuel College in Bradford where he was very proud to have been voted Greatest Yorkshireman.
Ben Parkinson's visit Immanuel College in Bradford where he was very proud to have been voted Greatest Yorkshireman.

It’s been a very busy couple of weeks in the run-up to Remembrance Day with lots of visits.

I went to visit Immanuel College in Bradford where I was very proud to have been voted Greatest Yorkshireman. As everyone knows – that is the same as being voted the greatest person anywhere in the world. I beat Ed Sheeran, Dynamo and Sean Bean to name just three of the other contenders.

We had a great day. I met lots of the kids and gave them the benefit of my experience: “Don’t be like me, make sure you do well at school!”

Next it was on to a scout group at Sherburn-in-Elmet. There were beavers, cubs and scouts, and they were all going down to the National Arboretum the next day, so it was great to talk to them about my time in the Army and the things that I’ve done since.

Then it was on to a great afternoon at the Halloween party at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Although it was pouring with rain we had a fantastic time. I never knew before that there were silent fireworks. I know my dogs would appreciate this!

Lots of little mates in brilliant costumes and face paints and some truly amazing cupcakes with chocolate and nut flavour filling, what more can you want?

I will now give you the benefit of my experience again. Lots of years ago when I was at school, me and my twin brother Daniel carved a huge pumpkin for the first time.

We were very proud of it and put it in our bedroom window. After Halloween we were arguing (as usual) about who should get rid of it into the bin. We compromised by shoving it under his bed and forgetting about it.

A few weeks later, everyone was complaining about a horrible smell. My mum tracked it down to a festering stinking mess under the bed covered by books, clothes and the usual rubbish. The reek was indescribable, and she had to shovel it into a rubbish bag and steam clean the carpet. Not the best thing to do a few weeks before Christmas when the threat level for removal of presents is high!

I’ve also been doing one of my favourite jobs of the year, selling poppies in Asda. I was very happy to be working with the Air Cadets who were giving up their half term to help.

Doncaster is an amazing place. Everyone wants to come and talk and everyone wants to wear a poppy. I always think that Remembrance Day should not be just about money but about respect, and never forgetting that some gave everything for our freedom.

It always makes me very happy when the little mates come up and put just a few pence in the collection pot for their poppy. While ever the little ones want to learn about why we wear the poppy, the world will never forget.