The Diary: Finns relish Full Monty as Liz comes home for more

Liz Boyles, Sheffield-raised Deputy Head Of Mission at The Finnish Embassy
Liz Boyles, Sheffield-raised Deputy Head Of Mission at The Finnish Embassy
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The name of Sheffield is rightly respected in the high-powered salons and ballrooms of international diplomacy.

The city’s industrial traditions are respected throughout the world.

The Full Monty.

The Full Monty.

But is it cutlery and special steels that the officials at the Finnish Embassy are asked about when the Ambassador gets the Fererro Rocher out?

No, it’s usually the Full Monty.

Well, the Full Monty, Def Leppard, Pulp and the Human League.

And Sheffield-born Deputy Head of Mission in Finland Liz Boyles is also doing some missionary work deep in the Arctic Circle – spreading the word about Henderson’s Relish.

“The name of Sheffield is still rated in industrial terms, there’s no doubt about that,” said 45-year-old Liz 
who grew up in the Handsworth and Woodhouse areas of the city.

“But when I tell Finnish people I’m from Sheffield they all want to talk about The Full Monty or music and bands like Def Leppard, Pulp and the Human League.

“I still see Sheffield as home and I always have a bottle of Henderson’s Relish in the cubpboard.

“My two kids Alex and Katie have never lived in Sheffield but they’ve been brought up with it and they love it.

“I have taken Hendersons all over the world with me and introduced friends to it when they come round. I like it with pies and sausages whenever we have them and I will be stocking up when I come over next week.”

Liz, who was a couple of years behind Jarvis Cocker at City Comprehensive School, was posted to Finland a year ago after Foreign Office stints in New York, San Salvador, Brussells and London in a 22-year diplomatic career.

But it could all have turned out so differently.

“I wanted to be a journalist and actually did work experience at The Star,

“But my love of languages won out in the end and I joined the Foreign Office in 1990.”

Turned out to be a good choice.

“When the ambassador is away I’m the top UK representative in Finland but usually I have more to do with the internal running of the embassy,” said Leeds University graduate Liz.

“My parents loved foreign holidays and I really got a bug for languages when I was young and my travelling and career choice started with that really”

Some memories of Sheffield will never leave her.

“I can remember Jarvis Cocker now in his yellow tights playing the role of Malvolio in Twelfth Night in the school play at City school,” she added.

“I was younger than him and he wouldn’t remember me but I can still see him now.”

Liz will be visiting Sheffield next week in connection with the centenary celebrations of the invention of stainless steel, which includes a gala dinner at the Cutlers’ Hall with the director general of the CBI on June 13.

“I have been invited by the Finnish steel company, Outukumpu, which has a £1billion investment in Sheffield and the UK and I understand that the Finnish Ambassador to the UK will also be there.”

“I will be visiting old friends in Sheffield and staying at the Leopold Hotel – the old Sheffield education building which is where my mum and dad – Dennis and Sylvia Boyles met when they were working there. And I’ll be going to Marks and Spencers to stock up on teabags and jelly – you don’t get jelly like ours in many places around the world.”

So what about those Fererreo Rocher moments?

“My friends tease me about the Ferrero Rocher thing but we work very hard, it’s not all parties and entertaining.”