THE saying goes home is where the heart is but for Jenny Campbell it is definitely a case of ‘Hyde is where the heart is.’
She may be a multi-millionairess after working her way to the top of the banking world and she may have been a familiar face on television by becoming one of the dragons on BBC shows Dragons Den.
But try telling her she has lost touch with her roots. She is still the same girl who grew up on Dowson Road, who went to 4th Hyde Brownies and Guides, became the drum major in the Scout and Guide band and sang in the choir at St George’s Church.
And when she was filming Dragon’s Den in Salford, Mrs Campbell often popped home to see her father and see a few familiar landmarks – many of which were built by her great-grandfather.
Living away from the area also taught her one thing – saying you are ‘going down’ to somewhere sounds strange!
And seeing fish in Hyde Market being prepared to go on sale – and the smell of them – has put her off for life.
“I grew up on Dowson Road, in one of three houses near the junction with Apethorn Lane,” Mrs Campbell told the Correspondent.
“My great-granddad built Grovenor House, as well as many things like pubs, schools and other buildings in the area.
“I went to church at St George’s and was a member of the Guides at 4th Hyde, I even became drum major – and yes, I did drop the mace once or twice, which was embarrassing!
“But I still head up reasonably often to see my dad, who still lives in Romiley, especially when I was filming Dragon’s Den in Salford – and the branch of NatWest in Hyde where I very first started is still there.
“It was a fantastic opportunity to go home and I would also go and see one of my brothers, my nieces and their children in Marple.
“I used to run up and down the road from home to Hyde town centre three times a day from the age of five – no wonder I’ve got long legs!
“However, when I was growing up in Hyde, we always used to say, ‘I’m going down Hyde.’
“Now I’ve lived in other parts or the country I find that saying quite strange. I wouldn’t say, ‘I’m going to go down Cambridge”
“I also have an aversion to eating fish. I think that comes from going through Hyde Market and seeing them on the side and being prepared for sale.
“It’s probably the smell of fish that puts me off!”
She may not have known it at the time but growing up as Jenny Sproson in Hyde taught her from an early age that she can cope in the business world.
She added: “People say to me, ‘How do you operate in a man’s world?’ I don’t really think about it like that, though, as I grew up hanging out of trees with two brothers!”
Mrs Campbell, who has told her children all about Hyde despite living in Suffolk, made her money after taking on cash machine firm YourCash from RBS and then selling it for a reported £50 million.
Her acumen also landed her a role on Dragon’s Den for two years – the last series of which she appeared on has now been nominated for a BAFTA award, much to her delight – and may earn her further television work in a similar field.
And even though she is no longer a Dragon, she is still heavily involved in companies she invested in – with plenty of pride going in ones in her home area.
Mrs Campbell said: “One of the ones I invested in was a gin company in Didsbury, where I went to school at Manchester High.
“So I have a connection with them already and recently, I came off the M67 and went through Hyde town centre. I always end up staring around, looking at buildings which are the same as when I was growing up.
“They make me think of friends from school and people I knew when I was growing up.”
Now Mrs Campbell’s time at Dragon’s Den is over, thoughts are turning to what next? And she revealed some exciting plans are in the pipeline.
She said: “I’m having meetings with a company about filming a television programme that’s along the same lines as the old Troubleshooter programme, where I’d go into businesses and help them through any problems they may have.
“We’re still in the stages of talking things through but it already sounds exciting and I remember Hyde itself having so much industry when I was little.
“And I may have been on Dragon’s Den and be familiar to many people but I’m still a Hyde girl.
What you see is what you get and that’s from my upbringing in Hyde.”