Favourite Things: Singing the praises of heritage and parents
Liz Harrison was born in Sheffield but lived in Tickhill until she was 11 when her parents moved to Dore, where they still live. She lived in London after leaving school but then moved back to her home city when she was 22, buying a house in Woodseats, when a terrace still cost Â£30,000. She now lives in Renishaw with husband Russ, children Toby, aged 12, and Pollyanna, 10, and their four cats.
Liz worked in management training, initially ‘behind the scenes’ in admin, later becoming a master practitioner and trainer in neuro-linguistic programming and training personnel and teams from a variety of organisations, mainly in the area of communication.
While pregnant with Toby, Liz came across the then-little-known concept of ‘baby signing’ and loved the idea of being able to communicate with her baby before he had speech.
After signing with her own children, and being amazed at how it helped their language development, she became a franchisee for the UK’s original and biggest baby signing company, Sing and Sign.
In Autumn 2006 she ran her first 10-week courses - just three of them with about 25 parents and babies in total. She now employs two teachers and between the three of them they run over 20 classes per week, meaning that over 200 parents and babies are able to enjoy singing and signing each term.
She has two passions, communication and music - and therefore believes she has the perfect job.
Parents often get a bad press these days. We either do too little with our children or we do too much, we give them too many opportunities or not enough, we’re ‘damned if we do and damned if we don’t’. I want to celebrate and give a huge pat on the back to all the parents I have had the pleasure of meeting over the last nine years since I started running Sing and Sign classes in Sheffield for their dedication and commitment to their children.
Everyone says it’s the people of Sheffield that make it so special – in that case I think Sheffield is in great hands for the future.
The TransPennine Trail
Living in Renishaw, we are able to access part of the Trans-Pennine Trail directly, which is fantastic for walking and cycling as a family. In one direction we can cycle up to Rother Valley Country Park, in the other down to the Chesterfield Canal and Poolsbrook Country Park.
I have huge concerns about how the HS2 railway will affect the area - in the current plan it will cut through the edge of our village, destroying some important village buildings such as the original constabulary and The Sitwell Arms, as well as the some of the Trans-Pennine Trail and Chesterfield Canal.
I love live music and think Sheffield is amazing for having a variety of venues which cater for differing genres and tastes.
My favourite has to be The Greystones. My husband says he used to play pool in what is now The Backroom when it was The Highcliffe, but now we have seen a variety of artists and bands there, always playing to a receptive and appreciative crowd.
Many of my favourite locations in Sheffield are the ones where we walked our dogs when we had them – Graves Park, Ecclesall Woods and my absolute favourite, Blacka Moor.
We Sheffielders owe so much of our greenery, as well as art and culture, to the philanthropic kindness of JG Graves.
I think I can legitimately put my own parents as one of my favourite things about Sheffield, as they have made a big impact on the city over the years.
My mum, Pippa Field, for many years chaired the Friends of the Children’s Hospital committee, raising vital funds, while supporting my dad, Professor Richard Field OBE, who many (older) readers may remember was not only Master Cutler in 1996/7 but also a leading figurehead in Sheffield in the 1980s and 90s, and through his role as President of the Chamber of Commerce and Chair of Sheffield TEC, helped to reconcile the considerable differences that, at the time, lay between the council and the business community.
I seem to remember that communication was the key (and much of it took place informally over breakfast after running up the Mayfield Valley every Saturday morning).
At 70 he still hasn’t slowed down and is still working with the city council and Sheffield Hallam University.