Tycoon backs bid for city status

Lord Kirkham.
Lord Kirkham.

ONE of Doncaster’s most influential businessmen has backed the borough’s bid for city status.

Sofa tycoon Graham Kirkham has added his backing to the campaign for Doncaster to be honoured by the Queen.

He believes the feel-good factor created by winning city status would provide a huge boost for the borough and its economy.

Her Majesty will choose one town to become the UK’s newest city as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations next year - and, as revealed in last week’s Free Press, Doncaster is hoping to receive the Royal seal of approval.

The bid, which will tell the Queen exactly why the borough should be given city status, will be submitted later this month.

And Lord Kirkham, who has amassed a fortune of more than £1 billion from his DFS empire, reckons city status is long overdue for Doncaster.

The 66-year-old, who founded the furniture chain above a snooker hall in Carcroft, said: “I’m not just saying that because I live here.

“I may be a bit biased but I do a lot of travelling and I think Doncaster above anywhere else qualifies for city status, not just because of its size but because of everything else.

“I’m supporting the bid and I’d lobby for it and do anything I could to help this happen.

“It would raise the status and profile of Doncaster and put us on the map which would also help the economy by attracting people to the area.

“I think it would have a massive psychological effect on residents too.

“It’s like if your home football team is doing well it gives people a boost and makes them feel better about where they live. I think this would be the case if Doncaster got city status.”

Representatives from Doncaster Council, Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, the NHS, Robin Hood Airport and other private sector companies are putting the bid together.

But Free Press readers have an important part to play before the application is submitted on May 27.

We want to know why you think Doncaster is great and what sets the borough apart from the other bidding towns, which include Blackpool, Middlesbrough and Southend.

Your views could be included in the proposal and be read by the Queen.

Readers of all ages can send letters, photographs and drawings to the Free Press through the post, Facebook and Twitter. All our contact details can be found on page 20.

You can also support the bid by joining the ‘Back Doncaster for City Status’ group on Facebook and following @DoncasterCity on Twitter.