For some reason the name Maggie has long held negative connotations for me but after a visit to the Maggie's Centre at the Christie this morning, that will have to change. Janine Watson, a former Head of Press at the Council and now, in retirement, a board member at Maggie's invited me to go and have a look. It's a beautiful building, designed by another former Council employee, Norman Foster.
It's also an incredibly peaceful and relaxing place providing an invaluable resource for cancer sufferers and their families. We are very lucky to have it but it needs lot's of help to keep going. It is funded entirely out of voluntary donations and needs to raise around £1m each year to meet its running costs, and I'm sure they would be delighted to hear from any individuals or companies that can help them in this daunting task.
A big chunk of yesterday was spent in Leeds at meetings of the Transport for the North Partnership Board( TfN ) and of Rail North. TfN will become the first subnational statutory transport body later this year and has a crucial role to play if the North of England is going to get the sort of long-term investment it needs in its transport infrastructure, not least for Northern Powerhouse Rail - including a new railway line linking Liverpool via Manchester Airport and Manchester to the other side of the Pennines. Rail North, which has the job of making sure Transpennine Express and Northern Rail meet their franchise obligations will merge into TfN as part of the new arrangements and together will give a very powerful voice for the North on strategic transport matters, covering all modes, freight and passengers.
After that it was back to Manchester for the Our Manchester Forum. This is the group of people from a whole host of different sectors who are overseeing the delivery of the Our Manchester Strategy. Last night's meeting was a little different, going to MadLab for a presentation and discussion on the disruptive impact of new technologies on the city's future. Left us thinking that maybe we should have had a ten minute strategy instead of a ten year strategy? Talking about northern transport infrastructure, tonight I'm talking at Cumbria Chamber of Commerce's Annual Dinner so will be testing the train service up to Oxenholme.