Column: Dear Reader - Harrogate man who ‘invented’ Jeremy Clarkson

Graham Chalmers.
Graham Chalmers.

It wasn’t as big as David Cameron or Ed Miliband or Nick Clegg coming to town but the Green Party leader created a minor stir this week when she arrived in Harrogate.

Our reporter Laura Hill caught up with the straight-talking Natalie Bennett in the Blues Bar, just one of the several independent shops and cafes this flavour of the moment politician chose to drop in on during her visit.

Such is the nature of the current election campaign, it’s easy to dismiss everything that goes on as a matter of hot air.

But I was forced to set aside my cynicism on a recent holiday in Canada when confronted by one of the biggest and oldest glaciers in British Columbia.

As a small group of frozen tourists milled around, I noticed little signs with little photographs positioned at regular intervals on this massive slice of ice as it wound its way up into the distance between two snow-capped mountains.

Each of the signs showed where the glacier had once reached.

More importantly, they also showed exactly how much it had shrunk.

An old acquaintance called me out of the blue from Dubai after a gap of nearly 20 years.

Ex-Harrogate PR business owner and local journalist Paul Sowerby wanted something.

What he wanted was for me to write something about his new book.

Part-autobiography, part self-help guide, it’s packed with larger than life anecdotes from this larger than life figure.

“Where’s the angle?” I asked him. His reply was hard and sharp like a man who knew he was holding the trump card.

“In my early days, I went to journalism college with Jeremy Clarkson. I persuaded him to do his first-ever motors review!”

Paul clearly took some pride from having helped pave the way to Top Gear for this famous but controversial figure.

To me he sounded just like a man claiming to have ‘discovered’ James Blunt.