William Thirsk-Gaskill was born in Leeds in 1967. He studied chemistry at the University of Liverpool, where he was an active supporter of various left-wing causes, and contributed to a fanzine called, ‘Dregs’. His first job was as a process worker in a chemical factory in Poole, Dorset. He then began a PhD, awarded by the University of Leeds, but with the experimental work carried out at the National Engineering Laboratory, near Glasgow. Part of his work was concerned with basic research into how to replace ozone-depleting chemicals used in the packaging industry.
He returned to Leeds to do post-doctoral research, and helped to discover a new physical phenomenon to do with the separation between molecules, called ‘potential tuning’.
Since 1997, William has worked in the IT industry, first on systems for pubs and breweries, to make people ill, and then on systems for the NHS, to make people better.
William’s greatest athletic achievement is having cycled the entire length of the Leeds and Liverpool canal towpath, though not in a single day. He has also walked almost the entire length of the Stanza Stones route (47 miles) in West Yorkshire. He has yet to meet Simon Armitage, but has helped to carry one of his socks. William has some experience of riding camels, but would not recommend it to anybody.
William is an expert in cooking Indian food, and is also a connoisseur of beer. Since they stopped brewing Tetley’s in Leeds, his favourite is Caledonian 80 shilling, which he has drunk while standing next to the man who brewed it.
William recently joined Commoners Choir, set up by Boff Whalley (ex-Chumbawamba), and sings bass. He is always listening out for new music to play on his radio programme on Phoenix FM. His Twitter handle is @wthirskgaskill.