Lord Mayor of Bradford for the civic year 2010/11, Councillor Peter Hill studied marketing at Bradford Technical College during the early 1980s.
Although Councillor Peter Hill and his wife Gillian are now very much adopted Yorkshire folk; building successful local businesses, giving years of devoted service to local communities, supporting local charities and being fantastic ambassadors for Bradford, they moved here just almost forty years ago from West Sussex.
After school Peter began work in aircraft engineering and then learnt central heating before joining Ekco Plastics as a sales representative for the South of England. When the company decided to reorganise its sales operation, Peter was asked to become the agent covering Yorkshire and Lancashire, something he was initially reluctant to consider.
Tthis was not due to any misplaced 'North of Watford' prejudice or preconceived ideas, but a desire to enjoy the ties of friends and family and everything they knew. But their landlord's sudden sale of rented flat and the shortage of suitable accommodation locally made the proposition more attractive. So at short notice the family found a house to rent in Haworth. As the Lady Mayoress explained, "When I first saw that house on a misty Monday morning I thought 'I could live here.' I loved that it was the heart of culture in Yorkshire" and apart from spending three years in Keighley, they have remained in the village since 1977 and have both been very active in the local community.
Peter settled into the busy life of a northern sales rep. He recalled, "I used to stay in little B&Bs and see all those guys in their sixties still on the road. I didn't want to be one of them so I came to Bradford Technical College for evening classes to do the HNC in Marketing and then did another year for the Diploma in Marketing. Two nights a week in college was tough as by then I was National Sales Manager, going all over the country, but it was worth it. I learnt a lot about how business runs and how geo-political systems runs. I enjoyed macro-economics and did my dissertation on the Soviet Bloc. Passing the Diploma enabled me to gain membership of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and I found having the pieces of paper and letters after my name opened doors."
Indeed Peter's qualifications and experience allowed him to advance his career with moves to Macdee Plastics, Ideal Standard and Heaton Bathrooms, before joining Airbath International as Sales & Marketing Director. In 1988, after five years of success and massive company expansion, he decided to use his expert industry knowledge and marketing skills to go it alone and set up Panda Promotions & Advertising, a specialist public relations and marketing agency for the construction and engineering industries. The following year, using his mother's maiden name, he set up a second company, Peter Green Associates, writing copy for trade journals and press. He remains MD of both companies.
Peter joined the Parish Council for Haworth, Crossroads and Stanbury in 2001, becoming Chairman the following May. He was elected to Bradford Council 2004 where he has taken on a variety of senior roles in licensing, planning and rural affairs.
He plans to take a well-deserved retirement from council duties after his year as Lord Mayor although he and his wife will remain involved in various charities. He is thoroughly enjoying his term of office and says "As a Councillor you think that you know your city, but you don't until you wear this chain. So many good things are happening that you never hear about. Such worthwhile work is done by people who are low paid or volunteers, and whose light is hidden under a bushel. Part of my job is to use the bling and my title to say thank you to people. People are always delighted to see us and appreciate what the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress do. In times of economic uncertainty the feelgood factor is even more important. We represent the city to people and highlight good work, by shining a light on it. I am sick of people knocking Bradford. There are lots of brilliant things about it but the people are the best thing. I want everyone to celebrate and enjoy Bradford and to be a tourist in their own city."