MY FAVOURITE THINGS: Crowle’s Richard Baker shares his thoughts on the Isle

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Welcome to our new feature My Favourite Things where Isle residents share their thoughts and feelings on the place where they live.

Here’s what Richard Baker has to say...

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How long have you lived in the Isle and whereabouts? 

I moved to the Isle in 1966, all the way from Misson. I lived in Haxey and Graiselound as a child, returning to Epworth to start work in 1986 and to Crowle when I married in 1989 and have lived here ever since.

Family?

I met Karen (nee Long) in The Mowbray Arms and we were married at St Andrew’s Church, Epworth. We have a son (Charles) and a daughter (Hannah). Charles works for SSE as an engineer, based at Ferrybridge and sometimes at Keadby Power Station, Hannah is in the second year of a nursing degree at York University. The family business, Horberry & Baker, was based in Haxey from 1944 until we sold the business in 2000. I followed in my grandfather and father’s footsteps in to the seed potato business, the business I still work in today.

Where do you work?

Karen and I both work for HZPC UK in Crowle. Karen as the financial controller and myself as the managing director. HZPC UK is the UK subsidiary of a Dutch potato breeding and seed potato company. In 2005 we started the business at home, having commandeered the children’s playroom as an office, with just the two of us. Today we employ a team of seven operating from a converted farmhouse on Wharf Road in Crowle. Half the staff can walk to work from the within Crowle, so I feel we have an environmentally sound commute to work. As a place to have a national and international business, there must be few places better. The East Coast mainline, being accessible from Ealand Station, the A1, M1 and M62 trunk roads and there are four airports within a one hour drive of Crowle. Unfortunately Crowle has not yet been able to join the Internet highway, the lack of a live fibre optic cable connection the woeful broadband speed we experience causes huge frustration on a regular basis. If we can get this last connection in place, I’m sure many other businesses can flourish in the north of the Isle.

What, if any, involvement do you have with local groups?

I was invited to join the Isle of Axholme Lions some years ago and quickly became an active member of the club. I am the current President. What a treat to be President in the club’s 50th anniversary year. At the end of the month, we’ll be having the 50th charter dinner of the Isle of Axholme Lions Club at The Wortley Hotel, Scunthorpe. This is the same venue and the same weekend of the year, when the club held its first dinner dance. The highlight of the year is in December when we take the Lions Father Christmas float through every village in the Isle and past most houses. The generosity of the people of the Isle grows with every year we go out, this year topping £9,000. This gives the Lions great flexibility to support local clubs, associations and people in need throughout the year and that’s really rewarding.

What do you like about living in the Isle?

The ease of movement through the Isle and beyond the Isle.

Do you have a favourite hidden gem in the Isle?

The May blossom display on the A18 in late spring and coming in to Crowle seeing the horse chestnut trees in flower.

What would be your favourite day out?

Heading off from Crowle with Karen to the Devonshire Arms in Beeley for lunch followed by a long walk in the Derbyshire hills.

What is your favourite pub/place to eat?

In the Isle of Axholme it would be The Ferry Boat in West Butterwick. Though I have to mention what a great job the Red Lion in Epworth did of the Lion’s Christmas dinner this past Christmas

Do you have any hobbies? What do you do in your spare time?

Too many and not enough time to do them all! I like to try and keep the weight off and the fitness up by heading off around the Isle on my mountain bike.

I try to take my motorbike off on local, national and international rides and camping trips whenever time allows. Wood turning and hill walking would be my more gentle pastimes.

Favourite book/film?

The Man from the Snowy River

What sort of music do you like to listen to?

Not the same as the children and they usually win if they are in the car at the same time.

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

As long as it involves potatoes I am quite relaxed, if I really have to choose one then it’ll have to be steak and chips with peppercorn sauce and green beans.

You’re stranded on a desert island and you can be joined by one other person - dead or alive - who would it be?

Karen, my fantastic and loving wife of course! We’ve been married for over 25 years and never been stuck for conversation yet. If we were allowed a visitor from the past, I would love to have dinner with Sir Ernest Shackleton.