I have three extraordinary children: my eldest Isaac who is doing his mock GCSEs, my youngest Toby who will soon be doing his SATs and Natasha who is loving life in between them both. I’m in awe of them every single day.
I have the great joy of being the Chief Fun Officer at The Children’s Hospital Charity and I love what I do. I look after several different roles at the charity, from business development to corporate partnerships, philanthropic giving, and trading products to support Sheffield Children’s.
In my spare time, my wife and I are respite foster carers. I’m also one of the coaches on my youngest’s’ football teams, helping out poolside at my oldest’ s water polo and as many parents will empathise, being a general taxi driver!
How long have you lived in Sheffield?
I was born in Middlesborough but brought up in Libya in North Africa and then in Abu Dhabi in the Middle East, before returning to the UK for secondary school.
I’ve lived in Sheffield since early 1999 – I came for a weekend to visit a friend and my life changed forever. I was really struck by how friendly everyone was. I found my faith here, moved into a shared house and married the girl in the next room.
The city centre has totally transformed since then, but some of Sheffield hasn’t changed at all. It has a real caring soul which for me sets it apart from any other place that I’ve lived in in the UK. I love the friendliness of it all- I live in Crookes and I know my all my neighbours, my street, and lots of the local community.
What would a normal weekend include for you?
We always try to have a walk with friends and I’ll try to visit my allotments to check on the chickens. In the summer, we can easily spend an entire day there. On Saturday evenings, we have a family film and make homemade pizza. I have a beer and try to have a little nap when no-one’s watching!
On Sunday, we worship at St Thomas’ Church Philadelphia and then in the afternoon I’m the assistant coach (chief cheerleader!) for my son’s football matches and then the evening involves helping poolside at Ponds Forge for my other son’s water polo!
Where is your favourite place to eat?
I love eating at Prithi Raj on Ecclesall Road – the curry is phenomenal. If I’m in the mood for a pie, then it’s the Nottingham House at Broomhill, which are the best I’ve had so I would definitely recommend that people pay it a visit.
If it’s the wife and I, or we are out as a family, then it would probably be Paesani in Crookes, which does a fantastic pizza at a very reasonable price. We also enjoy visiting the local pub, The Ball, and lots of new independent places are opening up in the area.
Where is your favourite place to visit?
If I was taking you around Sheffield for the first time, I’d take you to Paradise Square where there is a plaque to John Wesley, who was a very famous preacher. I think there’s something very special about that part of the city.
I’d also take you to the village green at Dore, where King Egbert of Wessex led his army to the village to receive the submission of King Eanred of Northumbria, effectively becoming the first king of all England in 829 – this is where England started!
We’d also do the Redmires Round to Stanage Pole to show you how close Sheffield is to the Peak District.
Where would you go on a night out?
I’m too old to go on a night out and I can’t say as a father I’ve got the time! If it’s someone I’m catching up with, it would probably be the local pub or Crookes’ Working Men’s Club, which do a very decent pint.
If I had lots more free time, I’d go to the cinema regularly because I love being immersed in films. I’d happily go every night by myself, but I doubt I would be allowed to! I love action, world cinema and a good drama. I just like being lost in the story.
Which three words sum up your weekend in Sheffield?
Joyful, Fun, Reflective.