10 famous people you might not know were born in Dewsbury

Dewsbury is the birthplace of many famous people - from Olympic champions and boxers to ground-breaking politicians and authors.

By Jessica Barton
Saturday, 19th February 2022, 5:00 pm
Alistair Brownlee celebrates on the podium during the Men's Triathlon at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Alistair Brownlee celebrates on the podium during the Men's Triathlon at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Although many of the famous people born in Dewsbury have now moved on, their journeys started here.

Here are ten familiar faces who were born in the town.

1. Alistair Brownlee MBE (born 1988)

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Betty Boothroyd, famous former Speaker of the House of Commons, the first and only woman ever to hold the position

Born in Dewsbury on April 23, 1988, Alistair Brownlee went on to be a Team GB triathlete, winning the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics and the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

He is the only athlete to hold two Olympic titles in the triathlon event.

2. Sir Thomas Clifford Allbutt (1836–1925)

Sir Thomas Clifford Allbutt was an English physician best known for inventing the clinical thermometer.

Former Asda chief executive Roger Burley.

Thomas was born in Dewsbury and was the son of Rev. Thomas Allbutt, Vicar of Dewsbury. He was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society in 1880, while practising at Leeds General Infirmary, and was knighted in 1907.

3. Baroness Betty Boothroyd (born 1929),

Born in Dewsbury on October 8, 1927, Betty Boothroyd is a politician and was the first female Speaker of the House of Commons between 1992 and 2000. She is still the only woman to have held that role.

Baroness Boothroyd served as the Member of Parliament for West Bromwich and West Bromwich West from 1973 to 2000.

Mike Stevenson at his book launch in Huddersfield.

She was educated at a local council school and went on to study at Dewsbury College of Commerce and Art, now known as Kirklees College.

4. Leigh Bromby (born 1980)

Leigh is a retired footballer who played as a defender and is currently the head of football operations at Huddersfield Town.

Born in Dewsbury on June 2, 1980, he started his footballing career when he was spotted by Daniel Firth at Whitechapel Middle School, Cleckheaton. He then joined Liversedge FC before being spotted by Sheffield Wednesday.

Author Andrew Morton being interviewed by Anne Pickles at a Leeds hotel.

Leigh went on to have a professional football career playing for several clubs including Leeds United.

5. Roger Burnley (born 1966)

Roger was born in Dewsbury in June 1966 and spent most of his childhood in Yorkshire.

He was educated at Heckmondwike Grammar School before attending Bournemouth University, in which he attained a degree in geography.

On October 30 2017, it was announced that Roger would succeed Sean Clarke as the CEO of Asda. Last year he announced that he would be stepping down from the role in 2022.

He was appointed as Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2022 New Year Honours List for services to the food supply chain.

Leigh Bromby made his début for Sheffield United on August 7, 2004.

6. Joel Graham (born 1977)

Joel is the bassist of English thrash metal band Evile and former bassist of metal band Rise to Addiction.

Joel started playing bass as his main instrument in 1996, playing in local bands around West Yorkshire.

In 2006, he returned to his birth town of Dewsbury, after volunteering in Kenora, and replaced Rob Naylor as bassist of Rise to Addiction.

In December 2009, Joel was announced as the replacement for Mike Alexander, the founding Evile bassist who died whilst on tour in Sweden in October 2009.

He has now joined Bass Guitar Magazine as a reviewer and contributing writer.

7. Tim Fountain (born 1967)

British Writer Tim, although born in Dewsbury, was brought up in the village of West Ardsley.

He was educated at Batley Grammar School, Wheelwright Sixth Form College in Dewsbury and Hull University.

Tim was literary manager of the Bush Theatre in London, where he had his first international success with Resident Alien in 1999, before transferring to New York Theatre Workshop where it played a sell-out season and won two OBIE Awards.

He has also written many books including Quentin Crisp: a biography and So You Want to Be a Playwright?

8. Mike Stephenson (born 1947)

Mike is an English rugby league commentator and former player well known for being part of Sky’s TV coverage of the Super League.

He played at club level for Dewsbury, Australian side Penrith and for Yorkshire and Great Britain, with whom he won the 1972 Rugby League World Cup. He played in the hooker position for most of his playing career.

He is also responsible for the setting-up of the Rugby League Heritage Centre at the George Hotel in Huddersfield and was appointed an MBE for his services to rugby league and sports broadcasting in the New Year Honours List 2017.

9. Gary Sykes (born 1984)

Born in Dewsbury on February 13, 1984, Gary became a super featherweight boxing champion who competed from 2006 to 2016.

He held the British super-featherweight title twice between 2010 and 2014, challenged once for the Commonwealth super-featherweight title in 2014 and once for the Commonwealth lightweight title in 2016.

Gary made his professional boxing debut on February 23, 2006 at Leeds Town Hall, fighting journeyman Dave Hinds and running out a winner over six rounds.

After a successful career he retired On September 18, 2016.

10. Andrew Morton (born 1953)

Andrew is a writer, journalist and biographer of royalty and celebrities.

He has published biographies of royal figures such as Diana, Princess of Wales and celebrity subjects including Tom Cruise, Madonna, Angelina Jolie and Monica Lewinsky.

Andrew attended Temple Moor Boy's Grammar School, Leeds and Sussex University where he studied history.

After university, he became a tabloid journalist and worked for three London tabloids, the Daily Star, News of the World and the Daily Mail, until 1987.