In praise of neighbours, local shops and Tramlines

Alison Fernandes with Jane McKee in Pete McKees shop on Sharrowvale Road
Alison Fernandes with Jane McKee in Pete McKees shop on Sharrowvale Road

Favourite Things: Solicitor Alison Fernandes ranges from her wedding at Ranmoor Parish Church to Sheffield’s ukulele band

Alison Fernandes is an associate solicitor in the family law team at Irwin Mitchell. She is married to Richard and has a two-and-a-half year old daughter, Connie. She has been living in Sheffield for seven years after moving from Nottingham. She lived in a small cottage in Totley before she met Richard and moved into his home in Hunters Bar. The couple have since moved to the Ringinglow Road area.

Hunters Bar community

We used to live on Roach Road where there is a great sense of community. An annual street party has been organised for the last three or four years and even though we’ve now moved, we still gatecrash to meet up with former neighbours and catch up on local news. The street works together to organise everything from street closure, marquees, entertainment and they all take part in a very serious “bake off.” Now that we’ve moved I really love the independent shops at Banner Cross. There’s not much you can’t buy along that stretch of Ecclesall Road and you can be certain what you spend is going back into the local economy, and not fattening the profits of the large mult-inational chains found at the lower end of Ecclesall Road. I particularly like going for a big breakfast a Snapdeli where you can enjoy great, fresh cooked food while watching life go by.

Firth Court, Sheffield University.

This is where we held our wedding reception. It’s a real hidden jewel with fabulous architecture, a stunning sweeping staircase and a ‘secret’ quadrant garden. All with a wonderful sense of history. You can’t fail to be impressed by the grandeur of the place. I remember being shown around the place by the events co-ordinator, Debbie Tilbrook. We walked round with our mouths wide open in awe. So many of our guests who live in Sheffield never knew it was so amazing.

St John’s Church in Ranmoor

Talking of our wedding, I must also mention the spectacular St John’s Church in Ranmoor. It’s a wonderful church but what is even better is that it’s looked after by wonderful vicars, Alison Wooding and James Grenfell. We joined the church not long after I moved to Hunters Bar and received a very warm welcome. Connie was baptised there and a few months later, Richard took the very brave step of marrying a divorce lawyer there - me! We were one of the first couples to be married by Alison in what was a very eventful wedding. Alison managed to include reference to a line from a song sung by a band my husband plays in. The director of music even agreed enthusiastically to our choice of wedding music and allowed me to walk down the aisle to Elbow’s “One Day Like This” played on the huge church organ.


What a great showcase for the city! It’s fantastic to see so many up and coming musicians playing in the city. For the past couple of years I’ve been lucky to witness the festival from backstage at the main stage. The atmosphere is amazing and the sight of so many thousands of Sheffielders enjoying themselves really makes you proud to be part of it.

Everly Pregnant Brothers

I think my husband may divorce me if I don’t mention the Everly Pregnant Brothers! He plays in the comedy ukulele band which seems to have taken South Yorkshire by storm with its parody, potty mouth lyrics. They’ve played sell out gigs at the beautiful Lyceum Theatre and City Hall. It’s very weird but long may they continue strumming their little instruments.

Pete McKee

He is a local legend with his original style, quirky paintings and he’s doing Sheffield proud by spreading his empire around the world with the help of top designer Paul Smith. Pete’s shop, Month of Sundays, on Sharrowvale Road, is well worth a visit at any time of year, but especially when he’s got a new exhibition. Apart from being an amazing artist, he’s also one of the nicest people you can ever meet and he’s married to the lovely Jane Mckee who is “fairy” godmother to our daughter. Pete also plays in the Everly Pregnant Brothers. If you visit Month of Sundays, take time to nip across the road and pop into Rio, a great women’s boutique that always stocks something a bit unusual. I love it for the colourful handbags it stocks and sparkly accessories.

Sheffield Children’s hospital

As a parent of an active toddler, I have to mention the wonderful staff at the Children’s Hospital. It’s a place which Sheffield takes to its hearts and supports generously. Connie has been treated there twice, fortunately for nothing too serious, but I take comfort knowing a specialist centre for children is on our doorstep.