Laura Higginbottom is the managing director of family-run company Horizon Care which operates five care centres within Sheffield and South Yorkshire. In September, the company will open Wood Hill Lodge in Grimesthorpe, a purpose-built facility for disabled people. Laura is the fifth generation of her family to be born and raised in Sheffield. Born in Jessop Hospital, Laura spent her early years in Crookes, before the family moved to North Anston. She studied law at Sheffield University and qualified as a barrister. After spending the early part of her career in London, she returned to the city of her birth to join the family firm. Laura currently lives near Maltby, Rotherham with Bonnie the cocker spaniel.
Wyming Brook Nature Reserve
The smell of the pine trees, the sound of the water gushing through the babbling brooks and the way in which the landscape changes with the seasons are just a few reasons why Wyming Brook is one of my favourite spots to spend my spare time. Whether it’s a gorgeous summer’s day or a frozen winter’s morning I enjoy exploring the different paths and woodland, followed by a walk up the steep ravine to blow off the cobwebs. Sometimes it’s nice to just stop, look around, and see nature in action.
There’s an old saying that you only miss something when it’s not there. It was something I discovered about the people of Sheffield when I lived in London. I think it’s difficult to sum up one thing which makes the people of Sheffield so special, but it’s the little things which can make a big difference: A greeting from a stranger as you walk down the street, the sense of humour or a throwaway comment overheard in a pub. Good old-fashioned Yorkshire grit coupled with friendliness. The characteristics I love can be seen all around us and nothing makes me prouder than the fact we employ many local people who are so committed to helping others.
The city’s industrial
Where would be without this? It’s easy to look wistfully at some of the empty factories and think the industries the city was built on are little more than a memory. But I love the way in which the city has always evolved and changed and is continuing to do so. I feel very proud and quite privileged to know that my family have lived in and around Sheffield for more than five generations, but I also think it’s interesting to look at how the city has shaped and influenced the lives of my forefathers. Many members of my family worked in industry, constructing the Victorian homes and streets which are still being used more than a century later. The engineering skills that were taught to my grandfather led him to volunteer during the Second World War working as part of the Long Range Desert Group. Going further back in time, one story that’s often reeled out during family gatherings is how my father’s, father’s, father worked as an edge tool grinder and during his lunch break would chop holes in millstones to earn extra money for his family!
Our passion for sport
It would be remiss of me to talk about Sheffield without mentioning the city’s sporting heritage and I would be persona non grata in my house for not mentioning the Owls! My dad used to go and watch them every week as a lad. The success of our home-grown athletes have really helped to put Sheffield on the map and I always feel a sense of pride at the sheer dedication and hard work which they give.
The view from Wood Hill House
When we built our first care centre in Sheffield, we decided to add an accessible rooftop garden for residents to enjoy. It’s one of my favourite views of the city and I find it fascinating to see how, even in a relatively short period of time, the city changes and is evolving in front of my eyes. What makes the view so special for me is how I can see many of the connections both I and my family have with the city: From the rows of Victorian houses built by my great, great grandfather to the hospital where I was born to the university where I studied. I love the contrast between the general hustle and bustle of city life as people living and working in the city go about their day-to-day business and the rolling moorland and countryside which surround the city.
I think I speak for every student who has rounded the corner to a waft of that wonderful odour as they walk to lectures. A true stalwart of the city and I don’t think anyone can really call themselves a true Sheffielder without a bottle with the orange label in the cupboard!