Alistair Farrant was born in Edinburgh and spent his childhood moving everywhere from Vancouver Island in Canada to London and Staffordshire. He came to Sheffield in 1992 to study geography at the university and never left. After graduating, he worked in newspaper advertising before becoming an account manager at GDA Creative Marketing in 1999. Alistair worked his way up to director level before he and his business partner carried out an MBO when the company’s founder retired in 2013. This autumn, after many years in Barnsley, the company relocated to the new Fox Valley development in Stocksbridge.
Alistair, aged 43, lives in Ranmoor with his orthodontist wife Caroline and their two children, Annabel, 10, and Flora, seven.
Hallamshire Golf Club
Hallamshire is the best golf course in Sheffield in my opinion. I started playing when I was about 15. My mum played - and still does - and she got me into it. I would play every day if I could. I’d always wanted to join a club but decided to wait until the kids were older and I had more time. I’ve been a member of Hallamshire for a couple of years now. The bonus is that the first tee is only minutes from my front door. It means I can go up for a few holes in the evening and be back home to put the girls to bed. On a sunny day there’s no finer place in Sheffield for me.
The Ranmoor Inn
My sister Nicki came to the city first - to study at what was then Sheffield Polytechnic and she was based in Ballard Hall behind St John’s Church in Ranmoor. This has been redeveloped into new homes and GDA did the branding work a few years ago – not something I would have imagined doing when I first came to visit her as a 16-year-old. The first place we went to on our night out was the Ranmoor Inn so it seems appropriate that all these years later it’s my local. It’s a proper old school pub. There’s no pinball or fruit machines and the TV is never on. But the beer is good and the people are great.
We love going out to the Peak District as a family. Higger Tor, overlooking Burbage Valley, is probably our favourite spot. We can be there in just a few minutes from home and the kids absolutely love climbing all over the rocks. The views are 360 degrees all around you and it is stunning when the heather is in bloom. It’s so exposed that you could almost get blown away on a windy day, but that can also be a great way of clearing the head on a Sunday morning. I know everybody says it, but having the Peak District on the doorstep makes Sheffield such a special place to live.
Until we relocated our office to Fox Valley I didn’t know Stocksbridge at all but, having seen the before and after photos of the development, the transformation is incredible. It’s the heart of a massive regeneration project and one that I’m delighted that GDA are a part of. I’m particularly proud that we’ve come in at the start and will see it really take root and thrive. It’s somewhere that anyone in the area should check out – there’s a really good mix of major retailers, coffee shops and great restaurants. Ponti’s Italian Kitchen is particularly good as the food is spot on and there’s a nice champagne bar upstairs.
St Paul’s Square and
the Peace Gardens
The whole area around St Paul’s Square, the Peace Gardens and Millennium Square is great and getting better every year. I love the ‘Made in Sheffield’ exhibition in the Millennium Gallery as it showcases some exceptional work. If you have friends coming to Sheffield for the first time, it’s somewhere you can take them and be really proud of.
Like many students, I never left – in fact I’ve now lived in Sheffield longer than I’ve lived anywhere.
I can’t say I was the greatest student but I did graduate - just! I also met Caroline there in my second year. We’ve now been together for 22 years and got married in 2004.
The language of ‘proper Sheffielders’ is brilliant – especially for an outsider like me. Take a word like mardy – what a fantastic word. There’s been many a family disagreement that’s ended in laughter thanks to my seven-year-old daughter piping up with some Arctic Monkeys.