OPINION: Light at end of tunnel

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John Lewis may be never knowingly undersold, but, when it comes to boasting, this region’s manufacturing sector has had a tendency to undersell its achievements and capabilities. Today, in collaboration with Sheffield University, we publish our annual assessment of the top companies in the sector. It demonstrates, beyond doubt, that manufacturing is alive and kicking in the region and has the potential to add to the technological successes that have made Sheffield a byword for innovation and excellence. Even in difficult times, 80 per cent of the leading manufacturers have remained profitable and continue to provide worthwhile employment for thousands of people. A high proportion of them are also making a significant contribution towards the UK’s balance of payments, either by exporting directly or supplying goods to others who do. If we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel, it’s good to see the region’s manufacturers steaming ahead.

A fantastic role model

Emma Hirst has a truly inspirational story to tell in this week’s Style pullout. She was just 12 when her hair fell out but in the 18 years which have followed, she has learned to embrace her baldness. Emma helps other alopecia sufferers come to terms with their hair loss and has even made a business from it, running her own wig shop in Eckington. It is always great to see somebody who turns negatives into positives - giving other people a reason to smile along the way. Emma admits she is proud of herself for coming through it and we’re sure everyone would agree that she is a fantastic role model.

Be dignified

The cost of policing this weekend’s English Defence League rally is hard to stomach but while we prize the democratic right to demonstrate it is one we must bear with dignity. We cannot pick and choose our protests but we can be proud to be democratic.