Favourite Things: Singer songwriter Pete James, who appears on Songs Of Praise on Sunday, tunes into his adopted city
Pete James has lived in Sheffield for 12 years, moving to the city to marry Nicola who was working at Chatsworth as press and marketing officer. After working in Meadowhall, he joined the Chatsworth maintenance team. He currently works for St Thomas Church Philadelphia looking after the music, audio and technical teams and leading much of the music at their services. Pete’s singing and writing has taken him to many countries and he has written for a number of charities. Signed to record label Elevation, he is preparing to release a live album after the success of last year’s studio album. He appears on BBC’s Songs Of Praise on Sunday. Pete lives in Crookes with Nicola, their one-year-old daughter, Olivia, and an excitable Labrador called Oscar.
I had lived in Crookes for almost two years before I visited the Bolehills. I had heard about this place that had incredible views, open space to walk in and even a BMX track. I didn’t believe it existed just behind Crookes’ high street! It is a favourite place to walk the dog and get a perspective on life, while taking in the amazing panorama and appreciating the seasons. It’s great to be up there in summer or when it’s snowing. The BMX track is the icing on the cake.
The House skate park
Again, this is a place I had heard a lot about but never had the courage to visit as it had been years since I skated properly. Then I bit the bullet and went with a mate. It’s a large indoor skate park in Neepsend. It is a real bonus for the skating community - especially as the sun doesn’t always shine in Sheffield...
This place is quality - a great Indian take out and restaurant.
I love that Sheffield sits on the edge of the Peak. A short drive in one direction will get you to the city centre, a short drive in the other direction will lead you to the Peak Disyrict. There is some of the country’s best mountain biking and road biking out there. Rides around Derwent Water can suit all abilities and the scenery is stunning. I try and get out there every couple of weeks.
St Thomas Philadelphia
I’ve been on the staff team here for eight years. I love the community and the diversity of it. You can meet people from so many walks of life and nationalities. There is always life about the campus and something going on. You could find bands rehearsing, youth events, services or our Iranian community gathering, people delivering food for the Food Bank collection point, CAP ( Christians Against Poverty ) staff in consultation with someone who needs financial help.
Virgin Gym, Broadfield Road
I love training here. There is so much space and getting on equipment at busy times isn’t a problem as it is well kitted out. Excellent instructors give good advice. The spa is a welcome relief after a good session and the swimming pool and baby pool are great.
Carracks Paint Shop & Middletons DIY
These might seem like random choices to shout about as places I love in Sheffield, but it’s true these are quality shops. Soon after I moved to Sheffield I began doing a lot of DIY on our house and found ‘real’ Sheffield shop staff very helpful. It is great to be able to get sound advice and buy just what you need even. The guys who run it always have time for you.
Sheffield is pretty legendary for its music scene - Arctic Monkeys, Pulp, Richard Hawley, Def Leopard to name a few. They must surely inspire a wealth of young musicians growing up in the city. And with great festivals like Tramlines, it makes Sheffield an exciting place to be a musician.
You can enjoy all the benefits that come with city life, but then you can head to the Peak and see stunning scenery and beautiful villages. Just two hours on the train to London makes working there for the day easy. Two hours’ drive north and you can hit Scarborough and some great beaches and fishing villages. One hour’s drive to the west and you can get anywhere in Europe or the USA from Manchester Airport. Sheffield works as city.