It was a genuine honour for me to be asked to officially open the summer fete at the Lakeland’s Hospice in Corby. It never ceases to amaze me just how committed and motivated are the staff and management, especially when one is reminded that almost all of the money for the provision of this community essential has been raised by the people of Corby. No government has ever seen fit to help: there is no lottery funding: there is no cash cow in the shape of a well meaning benefactor, apart from the Salvation Army, who decided to donate a substantial sum in the early days from the sale of land. Shaking tins and holding events is a basic way of describing just how the money has come in over the years. The total cost for the building, the staff and all of the equipment it is today was little short of one million pounds, which doesn’t include the on-going problem of substantial annual running costs which are provided, again, by the tenacity and determination of the team at Lakeland’s, getting as much cash as possible from the local population. Fortunately for the team is that the Hospice is situated in one of the most generous populations in the UK. I’ve said it before, because it’s true, the people of Corby will always ‘step up to the mark’ when help is required. Yet, like the Air Ambulance service, it still baffles me why such a facility isn’t regarded as a community necessity and therefore able to avail itself of direct central government funding. Financial aid is often sought and found for other aspects of maintaining our society’s health and well-being, from sport to the arts. So why is it that a day-care centre for those finishing the race of life can be almost forgotten in the great budgetary scheme of things? I would urge you to go to the Lakeland’s warehouse and shop, situated on Saint Marks Road in Corby. Apart from keeping in mind all of the above; it has to be one of the best kept shopping experiences in the town! The dedicated team that run and stock this amazing treasure trove of genuine bargains do a wonderful job of raising cash for the Lakeland’s Hospice. When a desperately loved member of my family died last year, it was to this team that we turned for the donation of all of the house contents. Not only did they collect everything with their own voluntary team, but, to our absolute amazement and great appreciation, they left that house in an immaculate condition, having all the sensitivity of people who knew exactly what we were going through as a family. So, the next time anyone mentions that they need a new three piece suite, a CD for someone’s birthday, or to kit-out a house or a flat for a family setting up home, have a word with the Lakeland’s first. Everyone’s a winner.