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Redmond reveals why ‘MerryDerry’ got the nod

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Secretary of State Owen Paterson, Mark Durkan MP, and Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries tour the City Walls during thier visit to Derry to celebrate the UK City of Culture 2013

Secretary of State Owen Paterson, Mark Durkan MP, and Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries tour the City Walls during thier visit to Derry to celebrate the UK City of Culture 2013

The Mayor of Derry, Councillor Colum Eastwood, with guests at the Guildhall to celebrate the city's success in winning the UK City of Culture 2013. Included, from left, are Secretary of State Owen Paterson, Valerie Watts, Ton Clerk and City Council Chief Executive, playwright Phil Redmond, chairman of the judging panel, Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries and Aideen McGinley, chief executive ILEX

The Mayor of Derry, Councillor Colum Eastwood, with guests at the Guildhall to celebrate the city's success in winning the UK City of Culture 2013. Included, from left, are Secretary of State Owen Paterson, Valerie Watts, Ton Clerk and City Council Chief Executive, playwright Phil Redmond, chairman of the judging panel, Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries and Aideen McGinley, chief executive ILEX

Phil Redmond, chairman, UK City of Culture 2013 judging panel

Phil Redmond, chairman, UK City of Culture 2013 judging panel

Ed Vaizney, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries and Phil Redmond, chairman, UK City of Culture 2013 judging panel

Ed Vaizney, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries and Phil Redmond, chairman, UK City of Culture 2013 judging panel

The Mayor and Mayoress of Derry, Councillor Colum Eastwood and Rachael Parkes with playwright Phil Redmond, chairman, UK City of Culture 2013 judging panel

The Mayor and Mayoress of Derry, Councillor Colum Eastwood and Rachael Parkes with playwright Phil Redmond, chairman, UK City of Culture 2013 judging panel

Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, and Phil Redmond, chairman, UK City of Culture 2013 judging panel with members of the production team who made the 'Voices' film for the City of Culture bid at the specail screening in the Nerve Centre. Included from left are Marty Melarkey, Sharon Concannon, Mark McCauley, Justice Scoltock and  John Peto

Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, and Phil Redmond, chairman, UK City of Culture 2013 judging panel with members of the production team who made the 'Voices' film for the City of Culture bid at the specail screening in the Nerve Centre. Included from left are Marty Melarkey, Sharon Concannon, Mark McCauley, Justice Scoltock and John Peto

The Mayor of Derry, Councillor Colum Eastwood, leads guests on a tour of Derry historic walls. Included, from left are First Minister Peter Robinson, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Mark Durkan, MP, Secretary of State Owen Paterson, and Gregory Campbell MP

The Mayor of Derry, Councillor Colum Eastwood, leads guests on a tour of Derry historic walls. Included, from left are First Minister Peter Robinson, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Mark Durkan, MP, Secretary of State Owen Paterson, and Gregory Campbell MP

Phil Redmond, chairman, UK City of Culture 2013 judging panel receiving an oak tree from members of the successful Derry - Londonderry bid team. Included, from left are Noelle Robinson, Aideen McGinley and Oonagh McGillion

Phil Redmond, chairman, UK City of Culture 2013 judging panel receiving an oak tree from members of the successful Derry - Londonderry bid team. Included, from left are Noelle Robinson, Aideen McGinley and Oonagh McGillion

Secretary of State Owen Paterson, Mark Durkan MP, and Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries tour the City Walls during thier visit to Derry to celebrate the UK City of Culture 2013

Along with Derry, Londonderry and LegenDerry, the second city of Northern Ireland was yesterday christened “MerryDerry” by the chairman of the judging committee for the UK City of Culture.

Phil Redmond was in Derry for a tour of the city he and the rest of the judges unanimously awarded City of Culture 2013. He was accompanied by the Minister of Culture Ed Vaizey, First and Deputy First Ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness and Secretary of State Owen Paterson.

Following a tour of the city's historic walls, the delegation was joined in the Millennium Forum by the key players behind the winning bid. The joy that ignited in the Guildhall on Thursday night was showing no signs of abating yesterday in Derry where even the sun had the good manners to shine brightly.

While the details of the bid had remained a closely guarded secret until yesterday, Redmond was at last able to outline just what it was about the Derry/Londonderry bid that got the judges’ votes.

The TV producer and screenwriter said: “We were careful that we would not visit any of the cities so that we would be unduly influenced because we wanted the bids to be centred on what is the core of culture — the written and spoken word.

“We wanted to be fair to everyone and wanted the power and the passion to come through, and that was why you got it.

“I think that to the Derry/Londonderry/LegenDerry you should add MerryDerry.”

Yesterday was the first time Mr Vaizey had been in Derry and he remarked that the enthusiasm of the people from every part of the city was very evident. He said that perhaps Mr Redmond should be given the Freedom of the City — a suggestion that was warmly received by the crowd gathered in the forum.

Just a sample of the richness of Derry's culture was laid on to entertain the visitors and among these were Codetta Choir who gave a haunting rendition of Danny Boy.

This was followed by a young jazz band from Foyle and Londonderry College who gave a first class performance — all just a taster of what will be on offer to visitors to the UK's first City of Culture.

Belfast Telegraph