Three months, 100,000 visitors, countless memories: Lindisfarne Gospels' last day in Durham (From The Northern Echo)
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Three months, 100,000 visitors, countless memories: Lindisfarne Gospels' last day in Durham
AFTER 92 days, 100,000 visitors and countless priceless memories, the long-awaited Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition will close its doors for the final time tonight (Monday, September 30).
The three-month attraction is being heralded as a great success from all corners, with organisers lining up to declare that it has “put Durham on the map”.
Visitors have flocked to the North-East from as far afield as New Zealand, Australia, the US, Canada, South America and Africa.
And although no exact figures are yet available on how big a shot in the arm the display has been for the region’s economy, it is certain to run into several million pounds. Indeed, some Durham traders have reported their best summer ever.
Keith Bartlett, Lindisfarne Gospels Durham programme director, said: “It has been wonderful. The response has been phenomenal.
“We have had so many comments about it being inspiring and people saying thank you for making them proud. For me, being from Durham, that means more than anything else.”
Professor Chris Higgins, vice-chancellor of Durham University – which has hosted the exhibition at its Palace Green Library, said it had been one of the UK’s most popular visitor attractions this summer and had exceeded anyone’s expectations.
The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, the Dean of Durham, said it had been a marvellous summer in which the North-East had come together to celebrate its own Christian heritage and stood as an example of what Durham was capable of.
Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council, said: “The fantastic success of this exhibition is testament to the hard work and commitment shown right across the region during the campaign to bring such a key part of our history and heritage here for public display.”
Melanie Sensicle, chief executive of Visit County Durham, said it had brought a feelgood factor to Durham and the whole North-East region.
The Gospels, which include the Bible’s Gospels books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, were written by Eadfrith, Bishop of Lindisfarne, about 1,300 years ago.
The priceless manuscript is considered to be the most outstanding piece of literature and art ever created in the North-East.
Kept in Durham Cathedral until the Reformation, it became part of the found collections of the British Museum in 1753, and later transferred to the British Library, its owner ever since.
British Library chief executive Roly Keating said it was delighted to have played a role in one of the blockbuster exhibitions of the summer and congratulated Durham on its success.
Tickets for the final day of the exhibition are sold out. Other events are still ongoing. For more information, visit lindisfarnegospels.com
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