2 March 2024

The impact of local sport

If you’ve been down the far end of Queen Street in the past week, you’ll notice we have our new signage up.

I’d like to extend my thanks to our window cleaner, Steve Spruce, for helping us apply the decals and not in any way grumbling about doing it.

Steve has also been known to pull me up on why Hessle Rangers are sometimes included in the sport pages – to which I reply, “Because they want to be!”

Yes, I know Hessle isn’t technically in Holderness, but who am I to turn them down? (Don’t answer that – I know that I’m the editor, and that I could indeed make the executive decision to do so.)

However, I don’t want to, because I figure that many of our local sports teams will play them regularly, and more to the point, I think it’s great that they want to be involved in our grassroots sports coverage, which I feel is unrivalled in our area.

Barring weather putting a spanner in the works (which it has, quite considerably, in the past month), every week we publish pages and pages of local reports on football and rugby, snooker and running, played by girls and boys, men and women, young and old… you name it.

Bear with me – it’s been at least a few months since I’ve banged on about our sports coverage – but I believe it’s justified, despite the odd whinge we get, to the effect that “not everyone is interested in sport”. Not everyone’s interested in tabletop sales or obstructing the installation of broadband poles, either, but you can’t please everyone and it’d be folly to try to do so.

I maintain that local sport has a far-reaching impact in any region – there can be few people who are not impacted by it in some way, from those who are directly involved in playing or organising, to grandparents who might ferry children to and from matches, or those who provide much-needed post-match hospitality. I don’t think you necessarily have to follow a team’s fortunes closely to appreciate this.

Last week, our reporter Rebecca went down to London to meet MP Graham Stuart and tour the Houses of Parliament, which, as she writes on pages 16 and 17, was a fascinating experience for her on a personal level.

Of course, Mr Stuart sets out his stall on his priorities for this region – there is an election
in the not-too-distant future, after all. What I would add to this is that he is the sitting MP who is very visible on a lot of issues affecting this area, so naturally we report, impartially, on what he is doing. Readers may well have views on this and you’re more than welcome to express them within these pages.

We would afford the same opportunity to any local MP, regardless of party colours, and indeed in the coming weeks we will be extending invitations to opposition figures who are also welcome to use our platform to showcase what they are doing, or plan to do, for our area.

Meanwhile, our lead Withernsea story this week focuses on the town’s annual lights switch- on. I really do hope it goes off well, despite the perennial arguments about its location. The weather (fingers crossed) looks mainly dry, but cold. The Gazette team will be wrapping up warm and dragging the gazebo out of storage to man our stall in Valley Gardens.

By the way, regular readers might remember back in August that I said it was my auntie’s gazebo that I’d borrowed, and I felt slightly guilty because, well, during strong winds at the Blue Light Weekend, it bent out of shape – and then we bust it a bit more trying to get it back in the bag during a heavy rain shower.

Suffice to say, I eventually came clean… and it is no longer my auntie’s gazebo. I gave her the money for a brand-new one, and am now the proud owner of the slightly battered original. So, do come and say hello – and see if you can spot the gaffer tape holding it together…