I was absolutely delighted to see a wonderful lady had been nominated for a Proud of Barnsley award in last week’s Chron. Lisa Hammond is the community champion at Tesco and I absolutely know how hard she works to help local charities with various initiatives such as the second hand book stall they hold there which yields a surprising amount of money (all book donations welcome as they change the charity every month I believe). They are incredibly generous in their support and I know that the Barnsley Dementia Society (BIADs) and Royston Animal Welfare are among two of many charities who have benefitted from Lisa’s efforts. She organises ‘food-drives’ which concentrate on getting lots of food donations for those in need and I also know that the kindness of local people often leaves Lisa having a bit of a quiet weep. There are community champions who operate within the job descriptions and then there are the Lisa Hammonds who go way over and above the call of duty. I wish her all the best when the time comes for picking the shortlists.

If you know someone who goes above and beyond, please put them forward for a Proud of Barnsley award. We want to herald the wonderful people of our town that fly below the radar and do things because they can and not because they want to be lauded. But they deserve to be and there is nothing wrong with letting everyone know how special they are. Details of how to nominate can be found here.

Fire is an element with two faces. It is lovely when it is contained and you’re sitting around a fire pit having a warm on a summer evening, but when it is allowed free rein, there are few things more devastating and destructive as we saw last year with the fire at Woodland Drive that robbed families of their homes – of their everything. Deliberately setting fire to grassland is not entertainment. It is beyond stupid and it destroys so much more than a few plants. What about the wildlife and their homes, what about putting at risk the lives of firemen who have to turn out to extinguish the blazes? What about the destruction of places that bring so much pleasure to other people? It is bad enough when scrubland sets fire accidentally, but please – put the matches away, this behaviour is about as far from fun as you can get.

Lovely to see a feature on Ashley Jackson in last week’s Chron. I’ve been a pal of his for many years and enjoy his company – and the company of his lovely family too. He’s always been a firm advocate of Barnsley yet I know that there were a few of the ‘old guard’ of the town who said more or less that if he thought so much of Barnsley why did he move to Holmfirth? Good grief – he’s hardly defected to the Himalayas. As Ashley says, the moors are his love and he wanted to be on their doorstep in order to paint them. I’ve never really understood why if you love Barnsley you’re not expected to leave it because if you do, you’re somehow a traitor. Even more so than someone who stays around and continually slags it off. Ridiculous. The sooner that attitude dies out the better and I think it is, thank goodness. You take your home with you wherever you go in the world – if you want to. Those people like Ashley whose background here has formed them, driven them and helped to fuel their passions are surely blessed, wherever they now live!