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County Durham finalises bid for UK City of Culture 2025



The inflatable artwork created by Steve Messam displayed at Durham Cathedral (Credit: Durham County Council)

County Durham are hoping to attract millions of visitors to the city by winning the competition.

The council announced County Durham had outlined plans for the Durham 2025 campaign and submitted the bid.

A year-long programme of arts, culture, sport, science and economics is hoped to win the council the name of the UK City of Culture.

If successful, the city would become the first county bid to ever achieve the status.

To celebrate County Durham moving a step closer to their victory, giant inflatable artwork, created by local artist Steve Messam, is being displayed at several locations across the city.

Leader, Cllr Amanda Hopgood, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to finally share our exciting plans for Durham 2025. County Durham has such a huge potential, and we are determined to bring together our extraordinary people, places and ideas to help transform not just the county, but the whole of the north east.

“This is a bid on behalf of the whole county. We want everyone who lives and works in County Durham to be a part of our journey and to reap the benefits of a successful bid. Our plans will involve every person, town and village in County Durham.

“Whatever your age or background, there will be a whole host of events and opportunities for you to get involved in during Durham 2025 so please do continue to get behind the bid.”

The programme includes a 12-month celebration in honour of Durham’s 1,300 year-history of space science, an international celebration of the bicentenary of the railways and a travelling fair that asks big questions about the local economy.

The Lumiere festival is expected to outdo every previous one and create a lasting legacy of jobs.

The Durham 2025 artwork displayed outside Raby Castle (Credit: Durham County Council)

Becoming the UK City of Culture could bring more than 15m visitors to the region and an additional £700m in visitor spending.

This could lead to a further 1,800 jobs in the tourism sector.

Partnering up with Durham University on behalf of Culture Durham, the two organisations share the belief that culture has the power to transform lives.

Chair of Culture Durham, Tony Harrington, said: “A vibrant cultural offer can truly transform communities. Not only does it help to bring people together, but it also raises aspirations and helps to create long-lasting opportunities for communities to get involved with cultural activities.

“We know that we have so much to offer already here in County Durham. But we also have a unique opportunity, through the bid, to demonstrate how culture can help skill and employment levels to soar, businesses to grow and high streets to thrive.

That is also something that so many other towns, cities and countries can also use for their own growth.”

The winner of the UK City of Culture will be declared in May, with the remaining contending cities being shortlisted further next month.

Vice-chancellor of Durham University, Professor Karen O’Brien, said: “We are proud to be principal partners of the Durham 2025 bid for UK City of Culture.

“Durham University is integral to the cultural vibrancy of the city and county. We are home to world-class museums and collections, our student music, theatre, sport and volunteering enriches our community life immensely, and we’re committed to sharing our learning and facilities to the benefit of the whole region.

“We think Durham would make an excellent UK City of Culture. We hope the judges agree and we look forward to being part of a rich and diverse programme in 2025.”

The winner will take the title from Coventry, who were ranked number one in 2021. Since then, the city has attracted over £100m in capital investment to support cultural projects.

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Sunderland suspend Jack Diamond after player is charged with rape and sexual assault



A Sunderland football player on loan to Lincoln FC has had his loan terminated after he was charged with rape.

Jack Diamond, 23, had been arrested after a sexual assault in Washington, Tyne and Wear, last year.

Northumbria Police launched an investigation, but have now charged him with one count of rape and one count of sexual assault.

Lincoln City FC said the player’s loan contract had been terminated “with immediate effect”.

His home club, Sunderland AFC, said he had been suspended pending the outcome of legal proceedings.

In a statement, it said: “Sunderland AFC has been notified that criminal charges have been brought against Jack Diamond by the Crown Prosecution Service.”

“As this matter is subject to a legal process, the club will not be making any further statement at this time”.

The incident is alleged to have happened in May last year.

Mr Diamond, of Fatfield, also Washington, is due to appear before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court in May.

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Paul O’Grady Dies Aged 67, Just Weeks After Newcastle Theatre Performance



TV presenter and comedian Paul O’Grady has died at the age of 67,  just weeks after starring in a Newcastle theatre production.

The TV star, who was from Birkenhead on Merseyside, died “unexpectedly but peacefully” on Tuesday evening, a statement said.

His partner Andre Portasio made this statement: “It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening.”

“We ask, at this difficult time, that whilst you celebrate his life you also respect our privacy as we come to terms with this loss.

“He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals and all those who enjoyed his humour, wit and compassion.

“I know that he would want me to thank you for all the love you have shown him over the years.”

The TV star, starred in a theatre prodution of Annie just weeks ago in Newcastle as it returned to Newcastle’s Theatre Royal from March 7-11.

O’Grady starred as the role of Miss Hannigan, the head of the orphanage who hates children. He had been due to perform the show across the UK up until November this year.

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Karen’s Diner on Tour is BACK IN NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE!!



Karens Diner on Tour Newcastle upon Tyne

Karen’s Diner on Tour coming to town on tour and ‘well if y’all show up in force we’ll either come as a longer term pop up or simply just stay put for a while until we’ve insulted everyone in the North East!’


Get your tickets here: Karens Diner Newcastle tickets


We have spoken to the top Karen who assures everyone who went last time that Bottomless means BOTTOMLESS!

At our pop-up Karen’s you will be greeted and waited upon by rude waiters who in return are expecting you to give it full Karen. A place where you can complain until the cows come home because we literally don’t care. You can expect good food, good fun and a dining experience like you’ve never had before. Let us know if it’s your birthday, if your name is Karen and for the love of Karen don’t ask to speak to the manager….

Your ticket includes a delicious BOTTOMLESS pizza and BOTTOMLESS prossecco or select spirits and mixers as well as select soft drinks drinks for a full 90mins

*We cater for all allergens

You will get full and authentic Karen experience – our games, our waitstaff and the full works. Decent food provided by the venue (we hope) and BOTTOMLESS booze for those who love a drink. This is a dining experience like no other – literally. Come enjoy the OG Karen’s from OG Karen’s.

Don’t accept imitations – book now to avoid missing out!

See our two below YouTube videos from the last time they were in the toon to see what to expect…

Follow our channel for more local videos…

North East Updates YouTube channel


*affiliate link – we may receive payment for sales for this event.

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