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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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Saudi Arabia wants its investors to own Manchester United



North East Updates - Breaking News

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.


Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.


It follows the Manchester United board announcing that they are open to a sale of the club.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisalstated he would be keen on Ronaldo signing for a Saudi Pro League after the World Cup, with the 37-year-old a free agent following a controversial interview and exit to Manchester United earlier this week..


“Who wouldn’t want him to play in their league?” “He’s a role model to a lot of young players – him and Messi.”


Sky news are reporting – It is the availability of United – after the Glazers announced plans for a potential sale – and Ronaldo that is interesting Prince Abdulaziz.


What are your thoughts on this – join the conversation on our Facebook page.


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Sunday for Sammy Concert Cancelled For 2023 Due To Cost of Living



A popular charity concert will not be held in 2023 due to the cost of living crisis.

Sunday for Sammy, which is held in memory of North East actor Sammy Johnson, is a biennial event aimed at benefitting young performers.

The long-running event has featured the likes of Joe McElderry, Johnny Vegas, Brenda Blethyn, Denise Welch, AC/DC’s Brian Johnson and Mark Knopfler, Jill Halfpenny and Ant and Dec.

Tim Healy, who hosts Sunday for Sammy, said: “We’ve had lots of enquiries over the recent months asking when the next Sunday for Sammy will take place.

“We are very much aware at the moment that people are struggling with day-to-day living costs and are watching their pennies. Everything is becoming more and more expensive and that includes the cost of putting on a show the size of ours.”

He added: “We can’t in good conscious put on a show that we aren’t sure people can afford to be tickets for. It would be wrong to risk your money you have generously given us.

“So sadly we have decided that there won’t be a show in 2023. We’re going to wait until the time is right.”

Often dubbed The Geordie Command Performance, the shows, which have been running for more than 20 years, are held in memory of Geordie actor Sammy Johnson, who died in 1999.

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STACK Newcastle Bosses Scrap Plans For Christmas Pop-Up Venue



The owners of STACK have confirmed that there won’t be a pop-up version in Newcastle this Christmas, as plans have been shelved.

At the end of September it was reported that STACK’s owner, Danieli Group, were hoping to bring the brand back to the heart of Newcastle after its Pilgrim Street site was demolished earlier this year, after becoming a firm favourite with locals and visitors since 2018. The pop-up, close to the Crowne Plaza hotel in the Stephenson Quarter, looked set to be a massive draw before STACK makes its permanent return to the city next year, was planned to feature a number of shipping container bars, a new take on its famous Hadrian’s Tipi, street food vans, a stage and large screen, all on one level.

But, it has now been announced that the proposed STACK festive pop-up won’t be happening anymore. Confirming the decision, Neill Winch, CEO of Danieli Group said that while it was sad news that the pop-up would no longer take place, it meant the company can forge ahead with the Worswick Chambers plan.

He commented: “We know how much people miss not having a STACK in Newcastle so we are concentrating our efforts on creating what will become a flagship site back where STACK first began,” he said.

“Work is well underway on the scheme with a view to being open in winter 2023.”

In recent weeks it has announced new developments in Lincoln, Durham, Bishop Auckland and Carlisle.

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