Why The North East Is Great
I had to get this off my chest even though it’s not really news – thinking about what was happening over our region over the Bank Holiday compared to events in London made me absolutely certain that despite the lack of funding from our political leaders down South, the North East is still one of the greatest regions to live and will not only survive but prosper in the years to come.
For a start, the Tall Ships were visiting Blyth where thousands came to get close-ups and even more watched their departure down the NE coast in the spectacular Parade of Sail on Monday.
At Gateshead Stadium, Olympians such as our very own medal-winning gymnast, Amy Tinkler, rubbed shoulders with their fans at the I am Team GB event.
The Northumberland sculpture park at Cheeseburn Grange was open to visitors with sound installations by Chris Watson and Linda France.
Kirkharle village celebrated the 300th birthday of Northumbrian landscape gardener, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown with a concert presented by Alexander Armstrong.
Newcastle’s Times Square saw concerts by, amongst others, Scottish rock legends, Primal Scream and the exciting Catfish and the Bottlemen.
At Seven Stories, the Ouseburn National Centre for Children’s Books, the Michael Morpugo exhibition entranced visitors young and old whilst the inaugural Ouseburn Valley Cross saw hundreds of intrepid cyclists complete the 1.25 mile cyclo-cross course.
In Newcastle’s Exhibition Park, thousands enjoyed the cultural diversity of the Newcastle Mela based around the music, art and food of Pakistani, Bengali, Indian and other South Asian cultures whilst on the adjacent Town Moor, the Moscow State Circus was also entertaining visitors.
In the City’s Town Centre, the Screen on the Green at Old Eldon Square showed a variety of movies including Harry Potter and the magnificent Some Like it Hot to outdoor audiences whilst Newcastle United won 2-0 at the nearby St James Park. Others enjoyed the amazing Alice in Wonderland exhibition at the Laing Art Gallery which included illustrations and drawings by Mervyn Peake, Peter Blake and Salvador Dali amongst others, whilst the Discovery Museum had the Newcastle’s Motorcycle Pioneers exhibition, celebrating our unique motorcycle heritage.
In South Shields’ Bent Park, the Fake Festival saw a variety of tribute bands including Kazabian, Total Stone Roses and Blondied (no prizes for guessing the original bands) whilst residents there eagerly await the opening of the Word, the National Centre for the Written Word, and the Sir Ridley Scott exhibition which launches this, the first phase of the regeneration of South Shields.
Over in North Shields, the Stephenson Railway had Thomas the Tank Engine and friends, including, of course, the Fat Controller for visitors to the three and a half mile train journey in 195-‘s heritage railway carriages.
In Chester-le-Street visitors cooled off from the glorious weather at the hugely popular Splash pad in the Riverside Park.
In Wooler, the Glendale Show attracted an estimated 12,000 visitors, whilst at Once Brewed, construction progress on the remarkable £14.2m Sill building, the National Landscape Discovery Centre, was captured on video from a drone and will soon be featured on architects JDDK’s website.
In Bishop Auckland the 600 strong cast of the amazing Kynren completed shows to some 16,000 people over Saturday and Sunday nights with only four shows now remaining for this first season.
So just a brief round-up of a few of the wonderful activities available in the North East without even mentioning the superb food and drink, friendly residents, lower cost of living, better environment, magnificent countryside and walks that thousands of us enjoy every day. As a contrast, in London, present capital of our country and magnet to overseas visitors, over 450 arrests were made at the Notting Hill Carnival, 40 of which were for assaults on the police – maybe those visitors should come up here to sample a different visitor experience…