OPINION

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It’s back to the future

Apart from a few suspiciously symmetrical hills, there’s not a lot of evidence of coal mining left in Barnsley. Almost all the spoil heaps and pit sites have been reclaimed and converted into uses including a wetland visitor centre, call centres and business and retail parks. There are no working pits now and slowly the signs of the borough’s recent history are being erased. So we welcome news that buildings at Barnsley Main Colliery have been listed for their historical importance. And well done to those who, with one eye on the future, ensured they were preserved following its closure in 1991. But inevitably time moves on and the industry and entrepreneurship that made coal such a success is channelled in other directions. Over in Thorne in Doncaster, another former colliery town, one new company is emerging as a world beater, as reported in today’s business supplement. The aptly-named New Era Aquaculture creates balanced diets for fish of all sizes and their products are being snapped up by firms across the globe. It has just won its largest ever order, to supply a Singapore aquarium containing 100,000 marine animals. It’s a world away from mining coal and just shows how the region’s future prosperity is still waiting to be written.

Giving back to hospital

Stuart Steele was applauded off the ward when he was finally well enough to leave Barnsley Hospital’s intensive care ward. He needed round the clock care and had spent 93 days in hospital so just making a healthy recovery was remarkable enough. What now makes him stand out from everyone else is the fact he decided to give something back. Instead of feeling sorry for himself he pulled up his boot straps and set about making sure other patients were supported. He wanted to do his bit, not only for those in a similar situation but also the hospital staff. What a brilliant way to give back to the people who helped him and what an inspirational story for everyone suffering from ill health.