SPEAK to anyone who has experienced the care provided by Bolton Hospice and you will soon get a good idea of what an amazing organisation it is.

I could write 10,000 words about the place, but that wouldn’t be anywhere near as powerful as a couple of sentences from someone who is staying there, or their family and friends.

The hospice is fortunate to have such amazing support from the people of Bolton — it is touching to see how much effort people are prepared to put in to raise money or how much time they give up to make a difference.

That was illustrated perfectly at the weekend with a magnificent event — the Bolton Hospice Strictly Learn to Dance Final.

I was lucky enough to be a judge (with some advice from the experts!) and the evening at the University of Bolton Stadium was incredibly uplifting — and lots of fun.

Twenty couples, made up of men and women who until three months ago had never danced, braved the floor in front of a 750-strong audience to showcase their quickstep and then a speciality dance after an intensive three-month training regime.

The judges crowned Vicky Hawkesworth and Sam Ellis champions after a brilliant Argentinian tango and afterwards all the participants got together in a big group hug to congratulate each other.

It was fantastic to see the camaraderie that they had built up during their time learning their steps as a group. I felt that it typified the combined community spirit present in Bolton.

The event raises thousands for the hospice and it takes a lot of courage and commitment to get on the dance floor.

Hard work by volunteers from the hospice and Bolton FM, who helped to stage the event — compered by station presenters Andrew Dickson and Phil Ashcroft — ensured the evening was a huge success.

Since becoming a trustee last year, I have learned first hand about the fantastic efforts put in by people of all ages across the borough to raise money.

It takes £3.6 million a year just to keep the hospice running and generating that amount of revenue year in, year out, is no mean feat. If you do the maths, it is £70,000 a week.

It is important to stress that although that is a big amount of money, people should understand that no matter how small your donation, it makes a difference. It is a well-worn cliché, but every penny really does help.

We should remember that for every big event like Saturday’s Strictly Learn to Dance, there are countless other smaller gestures that are vital to the hospice.

Thousands of people every year generously choose to donate to — and buy from — hospice charity shops. Others volunteer their time because the charity is dear to them.

It is quite simple; if these people weren’t donating their time or their cash, Bolton Hospice would not exist.

It is the very definition of the community working together to make people’s lives better and makes me proud to be a Boltonian.