Belfast Telegraph

Derry's city of culture success would be ‘truly legenderry’

Becoming UK City of Culture 2013 will be a historic and pivotal moment in Londonderry’s history, the competition’s judging panel have been told.

Just days after the eyes of the world were on Derry for the publication of the Saville Report, a 10-strong team from the city were in Liverpool to make their final pitch to the judging panel.

There were smiles all round and applause when the delegation came out after making a 20-minute presentation and facing around 100 minutes of questions at the Arena Convention Centre yesterday.

The team’s central theme was conveying Derry’s desire to deliver a unique cultural programme that will engage, entertain and inspire through what the team described as “joyous celebration” and “purposeful inquiry”.

The four contesting cities — Derry, Birmingham, Sheffield and Norwich — will now have to wait on the final decision from Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, which is due at the start of July.

Derry’s bid has enjoyed the support of the Belfast Telegraph’s Back Our Bid campaign which has bolstered support across the province.

Underlying the strength of the bid the team was the support from Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and junior minister Robin Newton MLA.

Along with the bid team was US economic envoy Declan Kelly who told the judges this was a first for the US government — helping to challenge for a UK City of Culture title.

Dr Aideen McGinley, of Ilex and joint delegation leader, said the past eight months had been very humbling with having to put a team together and pitching on behalf of city.

Mr McGuinness added: “Becoming the City of Culture will represent a turning point, a pivotal moment when ‘hope and history rhyme’ making us a beacon of transformation to communities across the world. It is our ambition to see ‘the town we love so well’ become a city that is truly ‘legenderry’.”

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