Milly Johnson

Short and to the point...

WHEN the ‘Kes group’ came into being to put up the statue to Barry Hines, we encountered a few snags along the way.

But on our side we had the inimitable Sue Thiedeman who held the long and swanky title – Head of Culture and Visitor Economy Culture and Regeneration. Every time we needed some help, she was there for us. She cut through the red tape that was choking the project. When we ran into difficulty, she was the first person we contacted and we collectively breathed a sigh of relief when we knew she was on the case because she got things done, she made calls for us, she smoothed out all the wrinkles and I think we’ve all wondered if we would have achieved our aims if she hadn’t been there for us as much as she was.

Sue retired recently and I hope that what comes next for her is long, happy and stress-free. I hope she’s got loads of amazing and exciting things lined up and concentrates on herself for a change because she totally deserves it.

As Graham Ibbeson so perfectly put it: ‘Sue worked really hard for us behind the scenes with the Kes sculpture, my Oaks Memorial, and the Covid Memorial. She’s a bloody star and I’ll miss her.’ And so say all of us.

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I WON an award last week given to me by the Yorkshire Society. Went to a nice swanky ceremony for it and receiving a lifetime achievement award was Michael Parkinson. I’ve never met him before and they do say, don’t meet your heroes because you’re bound to be disappointed.

Well, they’re wrong in this case. I’ve always admired him, always thought he was the best interviewer around. There are those who say that he abandoned Barnsley by moving down south, but come on – would he have had the career he did living up here? He had to move, the same way other people have to follow the job: actors, journos come to mind. No one is handcuffed here and there are plenty who have moved away and said kinder things about the town than some who still live here and persist in slagging it off. Sir Michael was an absolute gent, he had time for anyone who wanted to speak to him and he charmed us all with his easy going manner and gentle affability. He’s frail now, in his mid-eighties, but still maintains a wonderful wit and it was a joy to meet him. More than that actually – I felt honoured.

AT THAT same do, I was speaking to a very eminent retired army colonel who had something interesting to say.

Remember in your prayers the Russian soldiers as well as the Ukrainian ones, men forced into being aggressors, into carrying out this war by a Bond-villain despot. The colonel said that he absolutely knew that the Russian army don’t want this. They too are husbands, fathers and sons doing a terrible duty. What a dreadful, awful, desperate situation. And all for what?