Yorkshire folk `generous to others' shock

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IT'S A mantra that is urgently whispered into the ear of every Yorkshire boy and girl, and has given the region its reputation for meanness: "If ever tha does owt for nowt, do it for thisen".

But yesterday Yorkshire's reputation for stinginess was exposed as a sham after new research revealed its inhabitants to be the most generous in the country. They may be careful with money, but when it comes to getting presentsfrom other people you are more likely to get one from a Yorkshire-born friend than any other.

According to research by the retail consultancy Verdict into Britain's pounds 25bn gift market, some 65 per cent of Yorkshire people regularly buy gifts for others - 10 per cent more than the national average.

Their generosity is closely matched by residents of the West Country and Wales but neither has had to wrestle with a pubic image for stinginess only surpassed by the Scots.

Unfortunately the stereotype of the mean Scot was reinforced by the research, which claims only 38 per cent of thembuy gifts for others.

But news that Yorkshire people are closet spendthrifts when it comes to presents has come as no surprise to its famous sons and daughters.

The former cricketer Fred Trueman said: "Yorkshire people are among the friendliest I know. We're big hearted. I'm a big gift buyer - for my family, mind you."

The novelist Jilly Cooper's generosity is well-documented. A friend said yesterday: "You just can't stop Jilly. She buys presents for just about everyone she knows."

David Daniel, chairman of the Yorkshire Society, said the fabled meanness was simply untrue. He said: "I think its a myth which has been confused with Yorkshire people's desire for value for money rather than inherent stinginess."

The league of regular gift-buyers, region by region, is:

Yorkshire - 65%

West Country - 64%

Wales - 64%

South - 59%

North East - 56%

London - 55%

Midlands - 52%

East Anglia - 52%

Scotland - 38%