Marilyn Stowe is senior partner Stowe Family Law, the UK’s largest specialist family law firm. She started the firm in 1982 in a converted cobblers shop in Halton, Leeds. She is married to fellow solicitor and part-time Judge Grahame Stowe. Their son Benj
What’s your first Yorkshire memory?
I was born and raised in Leeds and always wanted to stay in the city. I was educated at Talbot Road Primary School and later Leeds Girls High School and the University of Leeds. I love Roundhay Park in Leeds. I have vivid childhood memories of sledging in the snow down Hill 60, feeding the ducks in the Canal Gardens and playing tennis after school on the courts. My parents eventually moved to an apartment block in the park.
What’s your favourite part of the county and why?
I’ve been a runner for 30 odd years and within minutes of leaving home can be in the countryside, around Eccup. My favourite race ever is the Harewood 10 miles, which runs around the Eccup Reservoir and Harewood, past the set of Emmerdale.
What’s your idea of a perfect day, or perfect weekend, in out in Yorkshire?
Perfection is simply being outdoors, so recently over a long weekend, I had three days of enjoying different terrains. One day was spent walking nine miles around Eccup, another doing five more hilly miles along the Ebor Way and the third day was literally hill climbing up Ilkley Moor and hiking along the top of the moors. My job is intense, so being outside, breathing in fresh air and taking in the views helps me to relax.
Do you have a favourite walk – or view?
My favourite view is near my home. It’s the view on the Ebor Way looking towards Harewood House with the Dales in the background. Turner painted that view and it’s hanging in the Tate in London, but I can get to see it every day; driving down Harewood Bank to work in Harrogate and watch how the light and colour constantly changes. It’s a privilege to have a view like that on my doorstep and I’ll never take it for granted.
Which Yorkshire sportsman, past or present, would you like to take for lunch?
It has to be Kevin Sinfield, the current captain of Leeds Rhinos. I’ve been a fan of Rugby League since I was seven, when my dad used to take me and it’s a real family event to go and watch my team. As far as I’m concerned it should be Sir Kevin Sinfield by now!
Which Yorkshire stage or screen star, past or present, would you like to take for dinner?
I admire Kay Mellor very much. I think we’d have a great laugh together.
If you had to name your Yorkshire hidden gem, what would it be?
Sandsend, just along from Whitby has the most wonderful beach that’s great for families and has great views. I’m not sure that it’s hidden, but it’s definitely a gem.
What do you think gives Yorkshire its unique identity?
I’d have to say that it’s the people. They’re open, straightforward and friendly. I love that when you say hello to someone whether on a walk or a run, they always say hello back.
Do you follow sport in the county, and if so, what?
Of course, it has to be Rugby League and the Leeds Rhinos. I was at Wembley last year when they won the Challenge Cup (as I was in 1999 when they last won it) and I’ve got my fingers crossed for this year as well. I also love horses and every year my firm sponsors the Stowe Family Law Spring Meeting at York Races which usually attracts about 30,000 people. This year it will be held on May 30 and will be our 10th year. It’s a wonderful day out.
Do you have a favourite restaurant or pub?
The Black Swan at Oldstead off the A19 is amazing. It’s friendly and welcoming. The food and the wine list are great and they never have any problem accommodating any requests for non-meat options. Another bonus is the location near to the White Horse at Kilburn, so it’s perfectly placed to either go for a walk before your meal to work up an appetite, or afterwards to work off dessert.
Do you have a favourite food shop?
Fodder in the Great Yorkshire Showground. Owned by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, there’s so much good stuff to choose from. It has a restaurant too and I can personally recommend the chocolate covered salted caramel finger. It’s calorie free (I wish)
How do you think that Yorkshire has changed, for better or for worse, in the time that you have known it?
I think Yorkshire has changed and for the better. The standard of living is good, the cost of living much cheaper than down south and with the countryside on our doorstep, it is quality living. Yorkshire is where my heart and my roots are and I’m thrilled to see it doing so well.
Has Yorkshire influenced your work?
Definitely. I’m a Yorkshire lass and what you see is what you get. That’s how I am in my work life as well. I have clients down south who tell me that they like dealing with me because I’m direct and don’t flannel them, and I think that a characteristic of the Yorkshire people.
If a stranger to Yorkshire only had time to visit one place, where would it be?
I’d say spoil yourself, hire a chauffeur for the day, or get a friend to drive. Then follow the route of day one of the Tour de France last year, from Leeds driving through Harewood into the Dales, up to Buttertubs, taking in breathtaking views, finishing as Le Tour did outside our offices in Raglan Street in Harrogate. Top it off with a splendid afternoon tea at Betty’s and a glass of champagne. That’s what I would call a grand Yorkshire day out.
MARILYN STOWE: Her grand day out would be a drive around Yorkshire’s Tour de France route