CONGRATULATIONS to Bradford, worthy winners of the City of Culture 2025 title. We look forward to seeing what they make of the award and to visiting them during their great year.

It is disappointing for Durham, but there has been much gained from the bidding process. We have been reminded how much culture, heritage and landscape blesses the county.

Durham has deliberately put forward a county-wide bid which has begun to alter the dynamic of the area whereby the city, with its cathedral and university and world heritage status, was somehow set a part. It has been interesting seeing how important Beamish, Bowes and Bishop Auckland have been to the bid.

We should draw strength from the unity and variety of the bid, and build on all the ideas to promote ourselves that have come out of it. There is no reason why at least some of them should not go ahead.

And, we have something that none of the other bidders had: we have a genuinely global cultural event already in our diaries for 2025 – of course, the 200th anniversary of the world’s first full fledged railway, the Stockton & Darlington. If marketed right, with Durham uniting with the Tees Valley, it can ensure we are a major visitor destination and it can show, to both outsiders and ourselves, that we have a genuine heritage in world-changing engineering and ingenuity. Indeed, without the distraction of the wider bid, it would be great to see all energies combine to promote this internationally important landmark.

We may not be Capital of Culture, but we have to capitalise on our culture.