Top Leeds awards for Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Barbara Taylor Bradford

12 September 2019

Two of West Leeds’s most iconic residents are set to be recognised with one of the highest honours Leeds City Council can give, writes Local Democracy Reporter Richard Beecham.

Rugby legend Jamie Jones-Buchanan and world-famous author Barbara Taylor Bradford have each been granted the Leeds Award at a full meeting of Leeds City Council.

Jamie Jones-Buchanan

Bramley boy Jamie Jones-Buchanan is one of the most decorated players in rugby league – playing as a second row for Leeds Rhinos for the past 20 years, he has won six Super League championships.

Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake (Lab) said:

“He has just been such an inspiration to our city. He is a role model – he has not only performed on the pitch for Leeds Rhinos, but the real reason I have got to know Jamie so well is the incredible work he has done as an ambassador for Leeds as a child-friendly city.

“This contribution to young people is just phenomenal. He brings to every occasion an incredible wit, an incredible intelligence – he is such an articulate speaker, and is very motivational when it comes to reaching out to people and encouraging them to be the best they can be.

“He will continue working with us and will bring a huge richness to the work we will do for Leeds 2023.”

Mr Jones-Buchanan, who was brought up and still lives in Bramley, last month opened Bramley Festival and paid tribute to his former schools, Raynville Primary and St Peter’s.

Leeds Rhinos will on Friday pay tribute to the club’s longest-serving player at their home game against Warrington.

Barbara Taylor Bradford

Armley author Barbara Taylor Bradford has had a string of bestsellers in both the UK and US, following the mammoth success of her debut novel A Woman of Substance, which sold more than 30 million copies.

Coun Blake said:

“She was born in Leeds, grew up in Armley and came back to open the library. She was a contemporary of Alan Bennett and also worked alongside Keith Waterhouse in the newsroom of the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“There are such incredible ways they managed to capture the essence of the city.

“It gives me enormous pleasure to recommend these two awards.”

The council agreed to the recommendations for the awards.

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Steve McBarron says:

Jamie Jones Buchanan was kind enough to open Bramley Festival for us last month as you report in your article and he proved to be a big draw and a very inspirational speaker. We are extremely grateful for his support and this latest honour is very well deserved.