The Bishop of Durham, The The Right Reverend Paul Butler, has thrown his weight behind County Durham's City of Culture Bid.

Writing for The Northern Echo, he said: 

I love County Durham. It has such variety and so much more potential to be fulfilled. I am supporting the bid to be the first ‘County of Culture’ both because of what we offer already, and because of the potential that a successful bid will unlock. There is huge youthful talent on display in our schools and colleges very regularly. Amongst my favourites are Jack Drum Arts and all that Daisy Arts creates.

Around the County I think of wonderful small local museums like Wheatley Hill Heritage Centre and Horden Colliery Heritage Centre. I love local art galleries like that in Spennymoor.

The Northern Echo:

Then we have the huge delights of a town like Barnard Castle with its ancient castle, Bowes Museum, the Buttercross and The Witham.

My home town of Bishop Auckland is now filled with so much from Kynren and its hundreds of volunteers and the recent Passion Play to Auckland Castle, the stunning Spanish Gallery, inspiring Mining Art Gallery, Town Hall and all its cultural activities.

There is the annual Food Festival celebrating culinary arts. Across the County we have the delights and beauty of nature in Weardale and Teesdale – and their own fine cultural heritage and current life. We have the Northern Saints Trails and the Camino Inglés from Finchale to Escomb.

Our churches form a living part of the cultural life of the County; from the Saxon gem at Escomb, through to the delights of St Helen’s, Kelloe; St Lawrence, Pittington; St Brandon’s, Brancepeth; St Mary’s, Horden and, of course, the world’s finest cathedral (Bill Bryson’s description not mine) in Durham.

Durham City World Heritage site is the jewel in the crown for the county as a whole but it is the whole county that is the Crown. So much, with such immense variety across this beautiful county of ‘big skies’ and ‘open hearted people’.

We would be a wonderful ‘County of Culture’.

The Northern Echo:


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