10 things that prove you’re from Donny

You see this? This is the Arndale Centre. Ignore the signs. They're wrong.
You see this? This is the Arndale Centre. Ignore the signs. They're wrong.

To the rest of the country, Doncaster is some faceless northern town, a place you pass through on the train - but for those of us that live here, its a different kettle of fish,

Donny folk beam with pride at the stereotypes that come with being from ‘God’s own county.’

But just how Donny are you? Here’s ten things that will prove just how Donny you are.

1. Villages around Donny are never referred to by their full names

Let’s get one thing straight, it must never be referred to as Doncaster, it is strictly Donny - but only those from here can call it so. And while we’re at it, I think you’ll find the correct terminology is Armo, Rosso, Edlo, Edo and Kirky, among others. Armthorpe, Rossington, Edlington, Edenthorpe and Kirk Sandall? Never heard of ‘em mate.

2. You hate where you come from

Whilst in the environs of Donny, you are obliged to slag it off to the hilt. It is law to hate anything and everything about Donny. Your neighbouring village will be your sworn enemy. You might even hate the next street with an unbridled passion. But if you venture outside the the town, you’ll defend with an intensity similar to Mel Gibson in Braveheart. Especially to southerners, who don’t get our northern ways.

3. You will remind everyone that bus fares used to be 2p

Yes, those of a certain vintage will remember when hopping aboard public transport could be done for just two of your English pennies. Two pence! Two whole pence to travel to Sheffield! You are also legally obliged to long for the days of the Little Nipper service and complain about how the buses aren’t as good as they used to be.

4. The Frenchgate Centre will always be the Arndale

It hasn’t had the A-name, the name that was lumbered on every northern shopping mall throughout the seventies, for nearly thirty years, but you’ll still steadfastedly call it by the Arndale and none of this new-fangled Frenchagte nonsene. And what’s more, it will always be Gaumont corner, even though where the theatre once stood is now a car park.

5. You’ll have at least one non-Donny friend who knows that there’s a pub in town that used to be a church

Mention Doncaster (sorry, Donny) anywhere else in the country and chances are that someone will pipe up along the lines of: “Oh yeah, had a night out there once. Isn’t there a pub that used to be a church?” Yes, outsider, there is. Its called the Diamond Live Lounge and its on Wood Street. But for generations of Donny pubbers and clubbers it will be forever known as Camelots (see 4 above).

6. You’ve spent most of your adult life waiting at Arksey Crossing

Governments and monarchies can change in the time you’ve spent waiting for the level crossing gates at Arksey to open. It is rumoured that there’s a motorist in a Model T Ford who’s been waiting there since about 1913. “Oh look, that train’s gone now, the gates will open and we’ll be on our merry way.” No chance sunshine. There’s six Virgin Expresses, four coal trains, the Flying Scotsman and Thomas the Tank Engine to come through yet.

7. Everytime Open All Hours comes on telly you’ll remind everyone of its Donny connections

If there’s footage of a brown-coated Ronnie Barker stuttering about it being a ‘funny old day’ or getting lost in the bosom of Nurse Gladys while Granville falls off a bike, it is written in Donny law that you have to remind everyone watching with you that it was filmed in Balby. Ideally, you’ll also have an anecdote about David Jason once nearly looking at you from about 60 yards away too.

8. Donny has more traffic lights and roundabouts than anywhere in the Solar System

Just like Arksey Crossing (see 6 above), your movements about Donny will be severely restricted by the number of traffic lights and roundabouts. It doesn’t matter if it is 3am and there’s not a soul on the road, a journey down York Road or Wheatley Hall Road will be impeded by more red lights than Amsterdam. The proper action is to curse and sit dutifully grumbling for ten minutes waiting for them to change. Then repeat 15 times until you eventually get home.

9. Copley Road and Clock Corner are still referred to as places of ill repute

If you are seeking a lady of the night, it will be suggested that you head to either Copley Road or Clock Corner despite neither being associated with the red light district for aeons. The former is now a mix of takeaways and Polish food shops while the latter is now populated by people selling balloons, holding protests or trying to pressgang you into signing up for satellite TV. A good time is most certainly not assured.

10. At least one of your friends will claim to have a story about Louis Tomlinson

The One Direction star spent his formative years in Donny. Therefore, you will have an anecdote about him whether you’ve met him or not. “Oh yeah, my next door neighbour’s gran’s milkman’s wife used to live a few doors down from him,” a friend will slur at you in the pub. If you are really clever, you will also claim to have some ‘dirt’ on him. But which you will never divulge, because you’ve actually made it up.