Our Supporters

Our bid has already received widespread support from across the county and beyond. Below are just some of the messages from passionate people who are backing Durham for UK City of Culture 2025.

Bill Bryson, Author I don’t know of any place that offers a greater depth of history, architectural magnificence and cultural vibrancy in a lovelier setting than County Durham – from its breath-taking coastline and the rolling hills of the Dales to the unforgettable city boasting a World Heritage Site. And it has the friendliest people in the country. What more could you ask for?

Sting, Musician, singer, songwriter and actor I was born and raised in nearby Tyneside, but in many ways Durham has been the historic heart of the North East - as a spiritual centre in the Middle Ages with the stunning cathedral, a centre of learning with one of the oldest universities in Britain, not to mention its importance to the industrial revolution, with the mining community still celebrated every year at the Miners’ Gala. There is a lot of talk from the government about levelling up, but more often than not the region has been overlooked for decade after decade. So for Durham to be selected would provide a much-needed spotlight on this unique and important culture of the North East.

Ben Stokes, English cricketer, current captain of the England Test team I am backing Durham’s bid to be UK’s City of Culture 2025.

Fiona Hill, Adviser to three US Presidents and author of “There Is Nothing for You Here” All of the things that made my journey from the coal house to the whitehouse possible began in County Durham. Even in the darkest of times, County Durham has continued to invest in culture, arts and education. Durham deserves to win the title of UK City of Culture in 2025, and the investment that follows. It would help to give a boost to a really unique place, with uniquely resilient people who are innovative and talented but who have not been able to keep themselves in the spotlight. This is the time for the region to shine again and for the people of County Durham to believe that there is something for you here.

David Olusoga, Historian and broadcaster I am part of that generation who, during the North-East's darkest hour, had no choice but to get on our bikes and head south. Yet like most ex-pat Geordies I remain proud to have been brought up in the region, where my family still live. Whenever I get the chance I make programmes about the region and use my voice as a journalist and presenter to shine a light on the region of its people. It is a place I will always was call home and always think of as ‘home'.

Lee Ridley, Lost Voice Guy I’m very proud to be from County Durham and that’s why I’m backing its UK City of Culture bid 100 per cent. Growing up with the likes of Beamish Museum, the Gala Theatre, and Durham Cathedral on my doorstep was definitely a big benefit to me and helped me get into culture at an early age. So, it would be great for the next generation of young people to be able to experience something similar. Winning the UK City of Culture bid would certainly help do that, so I wish County Durham every success.

Peter Bowes, Journalist and broadcaster Jobs were an issue when I started my career in County Durham in the 1980’s and jobs are still an issue now, and if this bid is successful there is no doubt that it will shine a light on the county like never before. It will attract visitors, it will create jobs and it will be such a well-deserved accolade for, yep, my home county, but most importantly its hard working people.

Jeremy Vine, Presenter, broadcaster and journalist I arrived in Durham without a clue and I remember on day one rounding that little cobbled street and seeing the cathedral and realising that a thousand years ago, nearly, people had given their lives to this building and here it was nearly a millennium later and I was shuffling along looking up at it and that is why Durham needs to be the City of Culture, to be honest it is no contest is it?

The author, Ann Cleeves

Ann Cleeves, Author County Durham cares about reading. The city's literature festival pulls in readers from all over the north and writers from all over the world. I'm delighted that the authority is part of Reading for WellBeing, a partnership project bringing together GPs, libraries and voluntary groups to share the joy of reading for pleasure. If County Durham is crowned UK City of Culture 2025 there will be more opportunities to develop projects like this across the North East and shine a spotlight on the talent that exists here.

Steve Cram, Former athlete and durham city run festival founder I’m supporting the County and City’s bid for City of Culture in 2025. I’ve got long links with Durham. I first came here, down the race course just down the road, I think as a three or four year old when I ran in my first little event at the Durham Miners Gala. And you know, Durham’s had a special place in my heart, competing for County Durham at English Schools’ Championships, you know winning, wearing their colours. So I’m very, very keen that the rest of the country and the rest of the world gets to see what Durham has to offer because it’s one of the world’s greatest places.

Chris Bavin, Celebrity Chef and TV Presenter I’m backing Durham’s bid for 2025 City of Culture because do you know what I think this place has a really unique atmosphere the people are the friendliest in the whole country. It’s got everything, it’s got beautiful views, it’s got amazing food, it’s got so much going on I think it should defiantly win.

Mike Smith, CEO Uplands TV Both myself and David Olusoga are well aware of the importance of the North East to the culture and economy of the country as a whole. When I conceived and produced The Great North Passion for BBC One it was an immense insight into the need to act as a catalyst to create not just opportunity in the creative industries but an architecture and Uplands very much wants to be part of the next chapter in building it.