In The Hotseat with Gary Verity

Pic Joan Russell'Gary Verity,Head of the Yorkshire Tourist Board.
Pic Joan Russell'Gary Verity,Head of the Yorkshire Tourist Board.

Gary Verity is determined to make Yorkshire one of the world’s top visitor destinations.

Since his appointment as chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire in October 2008 he has raised the profile of the county at a regional, national and international level.

Attracting 216m visits a year, tourism in Yorkshire is now worth nearly £7bn.

In the first 15 months after Welcome to Yorkshire’s launch, Yorkshire has seen a 22% rise in the number of domestic holidays, compared to only a 12% rise in visits in the UK.

A proud Yorkshireman, Gary is also an award-winning Dales sheep farmer and lives on a working farm near Leyburn.

Since his late wife Helen was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2004 he has raised more than £400,000 for cancer charities in Yorkshire.

Helen died in December 2009 but Gary continues to raise money for their chosen charities.

Editor Jon Stokoe put this week’s In The Hotseat questions to him ...

1 What are your first memories of Whitby?

A family holiday.

2 What makes Whitby special to you?

Fantastic fish and chips and a strong sense of community pride.

3 Life’s highlight?

The day my daughter Lily was born ... and Leeds United winning Division 1 in 1991/2!

4 Biggest regret?

Never getting to play cricket for Yorkshire.

5 What did you have for breakfast this morning?

A proper Yorkshire breakfast with locally produced eggs and bacon!

6 What is your favourite eating place?

Green’s of Whitby is one of my many favourites.

7 What is your favourite pub?

My local, the Wensleydale Heifer in West Witton.

8 Where are the best fish and chips?

The Magpie Cafe, Trenchers and Mister Chips.

9 What is your worst habit?

Being unable to switch off. I’m a bit of a workaholic.

10 Where was your last holiday?

Yorkshire of course!

11 When was the last time you cried?

When Leeds United lost to Swansea City.

12 What would be your ideal day in Whitby?

A warm summer’s day with my daughter, a trip to Whitby Abbey and Captain Cook Memorial Museum topped off with fish and chips on the beach.

13 What was your first job?

I was a management trainee at Barclays Bank.

14 What is your favourite film?

Walk the Line.

15 What is your favourite book?

James Herriot’s books. I share his love of Yorkshire’s landscapes, characters and charms.

16 If you won the Lottery, what would you do with it?

I’d share it between my family and charity: cancer charities are very close to my heart since losing my wife Helen to this horrendous disease in 2009. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2004 and without the unstinting support of cancer charities, she would not have been with us for those five years.

17 Dracula or Captain Cook?

Captain Cook, left, every time – he was the greatest Yorkshireman that ever lived!

18 What is your signature dish?

Yorkshire Pudding and gravy.

19 Favourite drink?

A pint of fine Yorkshire ale.

20 What would be your epitaph?

Be the best.