Born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, raised in Nottinghamshire and from a mining family, Alan Fenn, 49, has lived in Sheffield for 25 years with his wife Amanda and their kitten Bonnie. From mining at Welbeck Colliery to pizza delivery, his big break came in the late 90s when he offered to hand deliver some pizza leaflets nobody had distributed. Alan founded the direct marketing company Compass Distribution. He is passionate about networking - founding ‘The Firm’ networks - and sports. He is a keen supporter and sponsor of the Sheffield Steelers. Their biggest match of the year is against Nottingham Panthers at the Arena on Saturday.
I first went in a Patisserie Valerie in Leeds and was so happy when one was opened in Barkers Pool. My wife Amanda and I are regular visitors, as Facebook and twitter friends will confirm. The patisserie satisfies two great passions….my sweet tooth and my love of all things French! There is just a great atmosphere and I also enjoy watching passers-by suddenly stop and lovingly admire the beautiful miniature works of “cake art” in the window.
Amanda is a very keen historian and I think her passion certainly rubbed off on me. As someone who was not born in Sheffield, I see some bits of beautiful or interesting architecture that people born here probably miss. It is a pity that some of the beautiful old buildings have been lost over the past 30 or more years through so much redevelopment, but there are still some treasures. People rarely look up. Some of the buildings on Campo Lane, Bank Street, Fargate, Fig Tree Lane have some wonderful carving, interesting features and colourful histories.
I admire talented people who have a passion for their “craft”. When I first ordered flowers from Catherine Greatorex at Petalis in Nether Green, I had been looking for something a little more unusual using wild flowers. What Catherine produced was amazing. Her bouquets are always beautiful to look at, can be as unusual as you want and they last ages. This year I decided to get Amanda a bouquet each month on the day of her birthday.
I’d never really been interested in the theatre before moving to Sheffield. Amanda has always been keen, so during the first year we met I went along with her and got hooked. People always think of the Crucible or the Lyceum, but I have seen some excellent productions at the Merlin Theatre, The Lantern and the Library Theatre. All Sheffield theatres are worth visiting.
I do love churches. I think it’s a combination of the architecture and the quietness. I was married in the cathedral and when I’m in the city, I try to call in. I enjoy the history, but more than anything I like to spend a quiet half hour, just sitting, thinking, and winding down. Life can be hectic, and if I don’t have time to go walking in Clumber Park, the next best thing is a quiet half hour in the cathedral.
I’d followed American/Canadian sports for a while, but my involvement with the Sheffield Steelers ice hockey club was a complete fluke. My father in law (also an Alan) suggested we go one Saturday, just to do something different, and I was hooked! I had become quite disillusioned with football and what I find refreshing about ice hockey in Sheffield is how family-friendly it is. There is passion…. but no bad language or violence in the crowd- only on the ice! I have been a sponsor for some years.