PRACTICALLY anything that raises the profile of our region is to be welcomed and so we whole-heartedly throw ourselves behind Durham’s bid to be named 2025 City of Culture.

Often the biggest win in these competitions is the compiling of the bid, because it will remind us of all the great things that go on, often quietly, in the area.

A list of our cultural attractions and activities to go before the judges will provide a valuable showcase to a wider country that – despite the Government’s best efforts to relocate civil servants – can portray the north as being full of cloth caps and whippets.

It is very positive that this is a county-wide bid which gives all Durham the opportunity to show how it has turned the tide.

There are great economic benefits in terms of tourism and hospitality, and also in terms of mentality. We quite rightly moan about the things we don’t like, for example the new Durham council headquarters, but we rarely look at all the positive things that surround us. This will give the Durham the chance to grow pride in itself.

Durham’s bid shines an awkward light on the Tees Valley’s decision not to go for the 2025 City of Culture. After thinking about it for several years, and, in the 200th anniversary of the Stockton & Darlington Railway, having the ideal centrepiece for a bid, the five councils decided not to go ahead.

Let’s hope Durham sees the railway as one of its many jewels with which to bedazzle the rest of the country.