‘It could transform the city’
COMMUNITY CHAMPION JOINS CULTURE BID
Community champion Tony Downey reckons being named UK City of Culture 2021 could spark a real renaissance in Sunderland.
Before his retirement, Tony, 73, worked as an adoptions and fostering officer for Sunderland City Council’s social services department.
He was born in Millfield, but now lives in The Oaks, and has always been passionate about his home city.
Today, with 15 days to go until the UK City of Culture final bid has to be submitted, he explained why he has become a culture champion.
“I have a deep affection for my city and wanted to do something to help the bid.
“I think the city really needs something like the bid, and I’m sure the city as a whole would respond to it – the effect on the city would be transformative.
“The positive effect it would have and the euphoria would sway anyone who isn’t sure about the bid.
“I’d like the 2021 programme to reflect our past. For instance, the area was the birthplaceofGregorianchanting in this country, so it would begreattohaveafestivalbased on Gregorian chanting.”
Sunderland is up against Coventry, Paisley, Swansea and Stoke to be named UK City of Culture.
A successful bid would put the city firmly into the cultural spotlight, attracting millions of pounds into the local economy through investment in the arts and an increase in visitors and jobs.
It would kick-start a fouryear period of growth, innovation and creativity and culminate in a year of cultural and artistic events.
Final second-round bids must be submitted by September 29, and the successful city will be announced in Hull, the current UK City of Culture, in December.
Community champion Tony Downey.