In the 1990s, when Colin Shelbourn, the Gazette's cartoonist, and I were writing radio and stage comedy drama scripts, a BBC producer told us a strong premise for a sitcom was when a group of disparate characters was brought together in a common setting.

Television series Dad's Army is a classic example, as it features individuals drawn from the fictional seaside resort of Walmington-on-Sea, who are thrown together for a common purpose as members of the local Home Guard.

In the United States, a sitcom which used the same approach was Cheers, which focused on people drawn from all walks of life who regularly gathered in a Boston bar because, as the theme tune put it: 'You wanna be where everybody knows your name'.

The atmosphere of Cheers accurately summed up why many people visit local pubs, such as those in South Lakeland.

They go there to relax, to spend time socialising with friends and for a sense of being part of a local community.

Traditionally pubs were also a place where people could go to keep warm even more important in these days of rising energy costs.

When I first came to Kendal in the late 1980s there were, as a I recall, more than 30 pubs in the town. I have not counted but there are far fewer now.

There are concerns for the future of pubs in this region, particularly as costs rise. Last week's Gazette stated the future was uncertain for the Cross Keys in Milnthorpe, while the King's Arms at Hawkshead had decided to close until next year.

Cumbria Tourism highlighted challenges facing the tourism and hospitality sector, such as energy costs and recruitment, coupled with the hardships of the Covid pandemic. It said the mini-budget and announcement that energy bills for businesses would be capped for six months was a welcome recognition of the need for action, but there was a need to clarify the longer-term arrangements for businesses tackling rising costs and inflationary pressures.

In the meantime, if we want our pubs to survive and thrive, it's clear we need to support them by giving them our custom.