The past 18 months has been tough for people living in some northern towns. It has been even difficult for places like Blackburn and Darwen who have been classed as being ‘Covid hotspots’.

Now, I am not going to lie it was not great being the top of the Covid list over and over again. This has been coupled with the fact that we have been in some sort of lockdown state for more than 16 months.

During that time the area has been in the news for all the wrong reasons with blame being attributed to one set of people over others.

Someone recently suggested to me that we were like ‘this sick patient who was holding the nation down’. Another told me the ‘only positive thing about Blackburn was the Covid’. Pretty brutal I know.

But it isn’t like that all.

Much of this negative attitude comes from the doubters and the moaners who want nothing else to continue to perpetuate this myth about ‘backward towns’. It happens quite regularly and seems almost alien to the people who live and breathe the town.

Others take a visit to the town from the leafy suburbs and comment on common urban issues you would find anywhere else in the UK, when they spot some bloke with his top off sat on a wall or some fellow smoking weed.

Elsewhere some random person can say the town ‘needs fixing’ without actually helping or assisting in any way.

I find the moaners most irritating and they tend to have a gripe about the town was a lot better in the ‘olden days’. We all know barring the football team it wasn’t all that wonderful in the nineties. The people, as always, were brilliant - the town wasn’t.

We now have some of the biggest businesses in the country and nation’s top rated school right on our doorstep. All this has happened at a rapid pace overtaking neighbouring towns and cities.

In fact, there are whole areas of the town which have been revamped thanks to entrepreneurs who are building in the town.

Rather than talk about how we are clearly punching above our weight we would have odd jibes about irrelevant issues.

Blackburn in particular has seen major changes in the past two decades and is leading the way thanks to this entrepreneurial spirit. Yes, we could do with improvements and we have areas that do need help. It isn't perfect or the best. Change is still needed and I am the first to call for this.

Thankfully there are a fair few people who think the same way.

We have some people who want to make it better and you only have to look at the countless times people still take to the streets themselves with pride to keep things clean.

We are not some quaint countryside village and we never will be.

The point is I would suggest we visit other places in the country and see for yourself how things have stagnated and they would wish for nothing else to have the same level of commitment from local home-grown businesses.

It is certainly something to be proud of.