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Minibus dealer Dave Fishlock hit headlines and TV screens this week as he began telling his inspiring story of trying to set up the ‘Bank of Dave’ to help his local community in Burnley.

With a TV persona that combines the naivety of George Formby with the sheer irritation of Paul Daniels, at first glance Dave seems an unlikely public hero. But his sheer drive to succeed in creating a new kind of ‘fair’ bank for his home-town community is both remarkable and inspiring.

As Dave says “The whole banking system is rotten and it’s ruining the lives of good, hardworking people. Unlike the banks, I know there are good and honest people who can be trusted. So I thought maybe I could open a tiny bank to serve the local community. Not a big bank but maybe a better bank.”

Channel 4’s documentary follows the ups and downs of Dave’s quest including some formidable challenges from the FSA and insults from ‘old school’ bankers. But faced with an initial threat of closure from the FSA Dave declared determinedly “The banks are scared of me doing this. One way or another we’re going to manage it … I’m not fucking shutting. Bollocks to ’em!”

Despite all the obstacles Dave’s “bank” is open at its tiny premises in Burnley town centre and is lending an average of £25k a week of his own money to help change the lives of ordinary people and small businesses. And unlike banks in the City, every penny of Dave’s operating profit goes to charity.

I think the bravery of ‘Bank of Dave’ can give us all the inspiration and confidence to invest more of our own resources and energy in the people, places and initiatives that we all know to be ‘right’ in our hearts and make brave choices despite the odds!

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