“I love Sheffield – from the ice cream to the countryside” – Paul Hudson reveals his Favourite Things about the city
Paul Hudson is head of sport and leisure at SIV – a leisure, sport and entertainment venue operator which runs around 13 facilities across Sheffield, including Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, the English Institute of Sport Sheffield, and Hillsborough Leisure Centre.
Paul first joined SIV in 1988 and grew up in the Darnall and Arbourthorne areas of Sheffield. From Queen the band, to her Majesty the Queen, Paul has a wealth of incredibly fond memories of his time spent growing up in the Steel City.
Football is a huge sport in Sheffield, and I was brought up on the red and white side of the city. One of my earliest memories is of Tony Currie – who latterly was voted Sheffield United’s greatest-ever player – sitting on the ball during the 5-0 win over Arsenal in 1973. United were 4-0 up in that game after just 17 minutes, so it’s a fond memory of mine in all my years following the Blades.
Of course, he then went on to play for Leeds and I remember my mum once giving me a gift of a Tony Currie tie with the Leeds and England emblem emblazoned upon it, which for a young lad who had watched TC play for his boyhood club was quite something.
Fox House, Grindleford and Castleton
I loved visiting the Peak District as a child, particularly the Fox House, Grindleford and Castleton areas. I’d get the bus over there and walk around the incredible countryside, climb up Mam Tor and explore the streams and rivers.
Growing up in Sheffield, there’s always something happening. It was great to be able to get out into the countryside whenever we wanted, and still is! Arena
The Arena – now the FlyDSA Arena – will always have a special place in my heart. I was part of the Sheffield Steelers Wheelchair Basketball team who helped open the venue with the Queen back in 1991, when I got out of my playing chair to be introduced to the Queen 12,000 people gasp in disbelief. I’ve seen so many artists there since – including Queen, thus completing the circle!
In addition, since joining SIV I’ve spent a lot of time at the Arena. It’s a fantastic venue and has seen hosted some great events since it opened, and it’s a pleasure to work at such a renowned facility. Canal Basin
The Canal Basin in the Don Valley holds so many different memories for me. Growing up in Darnall meant that I spent a lot of my spare time down there with friends, messing around and having a bit of fun – and walking around/exploring the area.
It’s totally different these days, of course – it’s been really cleaned up. As part of a city-wide initiative, I’ve spent time with friends and colleagues cleaning the area up a bit and it’s looking great. Granelli’s Ice Cream
Everyone loves ice cream, and Granelli’s is up there with the best in Sheffield. It’s based on Broad Street, which isn’t too far from where I grew up – meaning the taste of Granelli’s is a taste of my childhood.
Enjoying a couple of scoops of ice cream while looking out over the city from the Park Hill flats area is still a nice pastime to this day – it’s such a relatively tranquil part of Sheffield with the faint hustle and bustle of the city going on below you. Fat Cat & Kelham Island
Kelham Island and Neepsend are fantastic places for a pint these days. Whether it was enjoying an afternoon beer at lunchtime when I worked in my previous job at the small steel mill the Globe Works – on Neepsend Lane for Apollo Steels – or going out for food with my friends these days, the area is so vibrant and varied.
It’s undergone a dramatic transformation in recent times, too. It used to be a massively industrial part of the city and while the essence of that era remains, nowadays it’s a quirky, innovative and creative part of Sheffield.