Heaven & Hell: Mike Hanby 

Mike Hanby, chair of Norfolk County Cricket Club

Mike Hanby, chair of Norfolk County Cricket Club - Credit: Contributed

Mike is chair of Norfolk County Cricket Club, a Justice of the Peace and has worked in financial services since leaving school. After 18 years with banking giants Lloyds, Mike held several senior management roles with Santander and is now commercial director at MCB Financial Services. Coming from Yorkshire he is passionate about cricket. Married to Mandy he has two sons and three grandchildren.  

What is your connection to East Anglia? 

Born in Leeds, I moved here 24 years ago when I was relocated through work. Having never been to East Anglia, we came for a long weekend to look round and get a feel for the area before making a final decision. I fell in love with the region and have never regretted it since. Having served my apprenticeship, I am now nearly accepted as local! 

What is your East Anglian heaven? 

The Norfolk and Suffolk countryside and coastline. You cannot beat a good walk on a breezy day either on the coast or further inland to blow away the cobwebs. 

What is your East Anglian hell? 

It must be the A140 when travelling to Ipswich and beyond. The road network has improved greatly since I have been in Norfolk but sadly that is one road that has not. 

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What are your favourite East Anglian restaurants? 

We are spoilt for good restaurants so there some favourites such as Stoke Mill, Benedicts, Bishops and Milsoms at Dedham to name but a few. 

What’s your favourite East Anglian landmark? 

There are two contrasting ones that spring to mind. One in Norfolk and the other in Suffolk - The Holkham Estate and Southwold. Two splendid locations that highlight the beauty of this region. Holkham is a special place where a stunning coastal landscape meets one of England’s great agricultural estates. Southwold is a charming Suffolk seaside town with lots of character and the attractions of the lighthouse, beach huts, pier, busy harbour and of course the beach. They both make for a super day out. 

What’s the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year? 

I have to say the Norfolk Cricket Festival, which is a fabulous occasion, particularly when we are hosting our friends from Suffolk and the sun is shining. The present Norfolk County Cricket Club was constituted in 1876. The annual Norwich Cricket Week now known as the Cricket Festival was first held in 1881 and next in 1895. It has been running ever since. 

What's your specialist Mastermind subject? 

Pass! Not a great strength of mine but if pushed it would be cricket or football. 

What is always in your fridge? 

A cold beer or two, bottle of wine and some cheese. 

What’s your simple philosophy of life? 

My motto has always been “treat others in the way you would like to be treated yourself.” If you stick to this, you won’t go too far wrong. 

What’s your favourite film? 

I am not a film buff but do like a good crime thriller. Prefer watching a series on TV that keeps you in suspense until the end. 

What was your first job? 

I used to stock the shelves in the local village pub on a weekend and in the holidays when I was at school. There was always a lot to do as it was a very popular place. 

What is your most treasured possession? 

My family. After losing my father five years ago it made me realise more than ever how precious family really are. 

Who do you admire most? 

My father. He had a great sense of integrity was humble and an excellent role model. From an early age I remember him working very hard to improve the quality of life for his family. He was highly influential in my formative years without being intrusive and in later days was always a good sounding block without being judgemental. I wish he was still here. 

What is your biggest indulgence? 

A fillet steak washed down by a nice bottle of Rioja. 

What do you like about yourself most? 

It must be the strong work ethic that I inherited from my late father. Another of my mottos which I used to preach to the teams I managed was “the harder you work the luckier you get.” 

What’s your worst character trait? 

I don’t like losing. There are no prizes for coming second. 

Where is your favourite holiday destination? 

South Africa. What a wonderful scenic country with fabulous vineyards. Watching a test match at Cape Town with Table Mountain in the backdrop was something special. The drive down the stunning coastline from Hermanus to Gordons Bay was spectacular. The Garden route is on the agenda for the next visit. 

Best day of your life? 

There are two. The days my boys were born. 

What’s your favourite breakfast? 

It has to be a full English with all the trimmings. 

What’s your favourite tipple? 

A pint of an East Anglian real ale followed by a glass of red. 

What’s your hidden talent? 

It is obviously very well hidden as I am still searching to find it and running out of time. 

What’s your earliest memory? 

Kicking a football in the back garden in my first Leeds United kit. The ball was nearly as big as me. 

What would you like played at your funeral? 

You’ll Never Walk Alone. Being a football fan, it is a famous anthem and will be a fitting finale. 

Tell us something people don’t know about you? 

I bowled five overs at Ritchie Richardson when he was the best batsman in the world and only went for one boundary. Ritchie was playing for Yorkshire, and we came head-to-head in a charity game. He was fine fellow and spent ages talking to the younger players and fans. 

What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you? 

One thing I recall was when I first moved to Norfolk, I was in the village pub and I mentioned the poor road network to one of the locals who said ‘we love it because it keeps foreigners like you away’. He really meant and I thought ‘welcome to Norfolk’. 

Tell us why you live here and nowhere else? 

East Anglia has the best of all worlds. There is some fabulous scenery, lovely villages, two nice cities and a great coastline with good beaches. Coming from Yorkshire the only thing lacking is a few hills. At least it makes the walking a bit easier. 

What do you want to tell our readers about most?  

The Norfolk Cricket Festival starts this year on August 14 with six days of championship cricket. We play Bedfordshire on August 14 to 16, followed by Lincolnshire on August 21 to 23. Come along to experience a great day out with good company at Manor Park, Horsford. Consider becoming a member and supporting the county. There are also sponsorship packages available. For further details visit norfolkcountycricketclub.co.uk 

I am always looking for interesting people from Suffolk and Norfolk to feature in my Q&A. Please contact me at gina@hallfarmfornham.com or follow me on Instagram @ginalong_geewizz