Leeds today: Yorkshire Show, soldiers, Remploy, LUFC policing, takeover, walking…. and ta-ra from me.

Profound apologies for my tardiness, ladies and gents: it’s Mark here covering in Tom’s absence, and for what is indeed my last post before I head off for pastures new and whiter – but more on that later.

The Great Yorkshire Show was cancelled at the end of its first day due to weather – the first time in its 154 years. Now exhibitors are fearing they could lose thousands of pounds: the Yorkshire Agricultural Society described it as “heartbreaking”. Leeds Daily Photo meanwhile takes us back two summers with a fine shot from the 2010 event. I just had a great bacon sandwich…

Soldiers from the Yorkshire Region are to be welcomed back to Leeds with a homecoming parade through the city centre tomorrow.

South Leeds Life reports on Hilary Benn MP’s criticism of the government’s decision to close the city’s Remploy factory. Remploy, which provides employment opportunities for the disabled, is to close half of its 54 factories.

Two big Leeds United stories are currently doing the rounds that will have significant consequences for all Leeds. First, yesterday a dispute was heard in the High Court over payment for policing at Elland Road. The club said it was wrong for the West Yorkshire Police to charge them for policing streets and car parks near the ground, as they are not owned by United. Speaking for the police, John Beggs QC commented on the record of football-related violence at Leeds United home matches, and that it is clear in the law that police can charge for policing on public land if deployed for the protection of those attending the match or for the benefit of the club.

Meanwhile the saga goes on over the club’s takeover. The YEP has this on reports in the Middle East which claim the mystery man believed to be in pole position to buy Leeds United is none other than Bahrain’s Shaikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al Khalifa – a lifelong Leeds fan who was previously linked to a failed takeover bid back in 2003.

It’s a fine day for a walkabout here in East Leeds, don’t know about where you are. Phil Kirby however asks on The Culture Vulture whether walking is actually good for you.

What Leeds is really talking about today of course is this: today marks my last BGL post (for the time being…) as I’m leaving the city for a few months. This weekend I depart for Reykjavik, Iceland to join the team at an exciting English magazine which has over the years attracted a huge following in what is a fascinating and complex place. Did you know that 10% of the population of Iceland will publish a book in their lifetime? Probably, as I’ve been tweeting about it ad nauseam. I touch down at Reykjavik airport at around 1.30am – incredibly, just two hours before sunrise.

I left university just a year ago. I came back home to Leeds because it was cheaper to return than to move away to London, because I know this city is on the crest of a great wave, because I had some exciting projects on the horizon to be a part of, and because I believed I could achieve more and make a name (and a living… I’m a natural optimist) for myself doing what I’m passionate about – telling and sharing stories, helping others express themselves and what matters to them, and ultimately bringing people together. Writing news bulletins for Beyond Guardian Leeds has been a genuinely rewarding experience and even when I’ve been working in other parts of the country it has kept my head and my heart on the city I love. I recommend getting involved – and I know Mike Wallis would too.

I’m returning in the autumn with some exciting projects ahead that I’ve been working on for some time – but more on that another time! I’ll still be staying in touch with everything that’s going on in Leeds over the summer, writing occasionally over at MadeInLeeds.TV and The Culture Vulture, and indeed anyone who’ll pay me… You can take Mark O’Brien out of the hustle, but you can’t take the hustler out of Mark O’Brien. So until I’m back, take care, and have a fine summer – come rain or come shine…

So it’s not goodbye – just ta-ra. Goodnight – and good luck.

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