DEWSBURY is often prone to bad press, but if you dig a little deeper, you will find we have a unique mix of talented people.
Dewsbury has a proud industrial heritage – its location between the Calder and Hebble navigation, and coal mines was financially beneficial due to it being at the heart of the heavy woollen district. But that was decades ago.
What recent events do we have that surround this multi-cultural town? In the last six years alone we have had two huge examples of negative press attached to our name.
In 2005 a group of men carried out a suicide bombing in London. The ringleader was Mohammad Sidique Khan, from Dewsbury.
Then in 2008 Shannon Mathews set up the kidnap of her own daughter.
Can this town be the home of honest hard working people? People that are role models? The answer is yes.
Gary Sykes and Sayeeda Warsi are two such people.
In one corner we have 27-year-old British super featherweight boxer Gary Sykes. At one point he held a massive 32 fight winning streak as well as winning the ABA title, all while still holding down a factory job.
He then built his record up nicely before he beat Andy Morris and won the British super featherweight title.
A second admirable Dewsbury person is Baroness Warsi. Along with me and Gary, she was educated at Birkdale High School.
In 2005 she became the first Muslim woman to be selected by the Conservative party. In July 2007 she was appointed shadow minister for community cohesion and a working peer, and she then became the youngest member of the House of Lords in October 2007.
These are mammoth accomplishments, but she aspired for more and in 2010 she became the first Muslim women to serve in the cabinet.
These two people are what make Dewsbury an essential town in West Yorkshire. Both are from different backgrounds and of different faiths, but both are equally proud of their home town and upbringing.
So if you are from Dewsbury, and someone asks you, don’t shy away or joke about its negative aspects, be proud to be part of a one of a kind community.