BEING Bradford-born, I have always held the city close to my heart. I attended Carlton Grammar School for five years, the view from which was to shape my future as it overlooked the original six-platform Forster Square Station.

Leaving school with just two ‘O’ levels, I developed a love of all things railway, and began my working life in the parcel department at Forster Square. Promoted to London when at 18, I studied, passed my exams and qualified as British Rail’s youngest station manager, aged just 21.

A few years later, in 1976, myself and fellow Bradfordian John Ellis launched a successful business Manor Financial Management. We had a wonderful mentor in Jeffrey Pittock, a well-known Bradford lawyer who helped us build our business.

The business was sold in 2004 and it was then that, remembering the help given by Jeff, I decided I would like to pass on my knowledge and experiences by helping smaller businesses to lift their profile, particularly in Yorkshire.

In 2007, I chaired a small digital marketing agency and one day one of the founders said, “We have bought you the perfect domain name and will build a website for you:” My initial response was, “I can’t use that - whatever will people think?” The quick reply was, “Too late, it’s done!” So, with much trepidation, I started to use the site and shortly afterwards was very relieved to be referred to by the media as, “Keith Madeley, affectionately known as Mr. Yorkshire.”

My parents were both, at one stage, employed in the textile sector in Bradford and I felt it was important to demonstrate to the outside world that Bradford still has many companies involved in textiles.

As Mr Yorkshire, a couple of years ago, I was asked to speak at the prestigious London venue the Reform Club, Pall Mall, at an evening to promote and educate those present about various opportunities and all that Yorkshire has to offer.

In the talk, I stressed that there were still more than 30 companies in the Bradford post district operating successful businesses in textiles.

Furthermore, the then Yorkshire Tourist Board asked me to see if it was possible to produce material with a Yorkshire emphasis to celebrate the Bollywood Awards coming to the county in 2009.

I was introduced to the managing director of J H Clissold, a well know Bradford textile company. They had produced material for the Olympic Team in 2004 and in the stripe was ‘Go for Gold’. This phrase was replaced with one word: ‘Yorkshire’, and so began the Yorkshire Stripe Suiting. There have been four different colours and even a launch at the House of Commons to Yorkshire MPs.

As Mr Yorkshire, in 2019, I was asked to arrange a visit to the county for the Ambassador of Kazakhstan. He enjoyed meeting students, and many and varied business people and a most enjoyable and successful civic reception and dinner was held.

Having heard that Yorkshire had some first-class golf courses, the Ambassador requested a game which was arranged for the following morning. Hopefully there will be more opportunities for companies to export goods to his country.

Recently, I was surprised and delighted to be called by production company Eskimo, which is producing a film ‘Evolution of Yorkshire’ which will demonstrate how, by adapting to change, people can survive and thrive and why Yorkshire grit has never been so important.

Their brief was that they wanted colourful characters, Yorkshire icons with a unique way of life alongside life lessons of change and resilience. These include people such as Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Jamie Peacock MBE, journalist Christa Ackroyd, Lord David Blunkett, Rt. Hon Alan Johnson, Stephanie Hirst, Dr John Godber OBE and many others who live in and love Yorkshire. We are really looking forward to the launch.

I have been involved with Harry Corbett (nothing to do with Sooty and Sweep) of Intelligence Forums, a national-based organisation which is keen to help level up the North with London and the South East. The title he has given me is ‘Thought Innovation Co-ordinator for Yorkshire.’

I am also part of the Management Team of Yorkshire Asian Business Association (YABA) and continue to strive to promote inclusivity and diversity.

One of my passions is linking education and business and in 2018 I was completely overcome when Leeds Trinity University made me an Honorary Fellow. Shortly afterwards, Leeds Beckett made me a Visiting Fellow - these honours have made it possible for me to share many of my life lessons with young people as they are starting out on their careers, to offer help and advice which, in itself, is a great honour for me.

The website generates many enquiries from throughout the world and it gives me great pleasure to make introductions to the varied businesses in the region and to celebrate so many different products from the UK’s largest county.

My most exciting project at present is as marketing director for my wife, Chris’ series of children’s books ‘The Cones’(, which bring traffic cones to life in different settings and situations. The objective of the books is ‘helping corporate Britain educate children.’ There are now 13 books published, two in illustration and several more in research plus several in many different languages.