City of Culture rivals send off their bids

Mary HamiltonNorwich sent its bid to be City of Culture in 2013 off to the judges in Liverpool yesterday in the hopes that it could bring the national title to the city, kick-starting a cultural celebration and genuine improvements to the quality of life for everyone who visits, works or lives in Norwich.Support Norwich on FacebookOfficial Norwich 2013 bid websiteMary Hamilton

Norwich sent its bid to be City of Culture in 2013 off to the judges in Liverpool yesterday in the hopes that it could bring the national title to the city, kick-starting a cultural celebration and genuine improvements to the quality of life for everyone who visits, works or lives in Norwich.

The city is one of four in the final stage of the competition, and must beat Derry/Londonderry, Sheffield and Birmingham to the prize.

In Derry, Snow Patrol played the bid off in style after a visit to the first and deputy first ministers in Belfast, and the Irish prime minister has also backed their bid.

They are supported by Anne Robinson, James Nesbitt, Seamus Heaney and the founders of Riverdance, among others.

But their bid was hit by initial controversy thanks to concerns from Sinn F�in republicans over the use of 'UK' in the title.

Sheffield's bid is supported by Michael Palin, and Sean Bean among others and there is speculation that the city could be boosted by Sheffield MP Nick Clegg's new role at the heart of government.

Most Read

The city's plans have cost �150,000 to put together and will cost the council another �3.6m if they win the bid, as part of an �11m package of activity in 2013.

Birmingham's City of Culture bid is built around three major developments due for completion in 2013: a new �189 million library, Birmingham City University's �130 million Creative Campus, and a �9.7 million wing dedicated to the city's global heritage at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

The city council, which is the largest local authority in the country, has bought advertising on London's tube system and attracted backers including actress Julie Walters and the American Olympic Games squad.

It also organised a 24-hour blogging session in support of the bid.

By contrast, Norwich's celebrations and preparations have been relatively low-key, with the bid team keen to make sure they put their effort into making the best bid possible and not into advertising at this uncertain stage.

Along with celebrity supporters including Stephen Fry, Delia Smith, Simon Callow and Christopher Biggins, the bid team in Norwich have been keen to involve local individuals and small organisations in the bidding process alongside the city's cultural institutions.

Nikki Rotsos, head of cultural services at the city council, said: 'Instructions have been very clear that winning the title is not about spending a lot of money during the bidding process.

'People have learned from bidding for European Capital of Culture, where some cities spent millions of pounds in the run up to their bids being submitted and then were not even shortlisted.

'We have been very careful to make sure that our whole bidding process has been value for money.

'Lots of people have given their time for nothing to help us get along, and that means we can spend more money on our programme of events in 2013.

'We wanted to be very sure that we were investing in culture, not just advertising - and we have been right in the middle of our biggest and most successful ever arts festival.

'Hundreds of international artists have come to Norwich in the last two weeks, and thousands of people have benefitted from the wonderful work done by the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

'There could be no better backdrop to submitting the City of Culture bid that the wonderful culture we already have in Norwich.'


A Norwich-born pop singer who has gone onto become the most successful British female songwriter of all time, hopes she can make this fine city a smash hit with the judges in the UK's first City of Culture contest.

Cathy Dennis, who has penned worldwide hits like the 2001 Kylie Minogue song Can't Get You Out of My Head and I Kissed a Girl, which made Katy Perry an international star in 2008, has penned a note of support in favour of the city's bid.

She said: 'If it wasn't for the diversity of culture in the city of Norwich, I would never of developed such an eclectic taste which I have been told is prevalent in my work.'

The message of support from the former Norwich Union worker, who has seven UK number ones and five Ivor Novello awards to her name and who has also written hits for Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Hear'Say, S Club 7, and Rachel Stevens, comes just as Norwich submitted its final bid.

Norwich now has just four weeks to prove why it, and not Sheffield, Birmingham, or Derry/Londonderry, deserves to be the first UK City of Culture in 2013.

Other stars to have so far supported Norwich's bid include Stephen Fry, Delia Smith, Simon Callow, Christopher Biggins, and Marco Pierre White.

Read more stories from the campaign at


Now that Norwich's bid has gone to the judges, it is more important than ever for everyone to get involved with the bid over the next six weeks.

The judges will not be visiting any of the shortlisted cities, so it is crucial to make sure that people in Norwich and Norfolk show their support and showcase their own brilliant cultural efforts in ways that the judges can see.

Blogging and writing about your support for the bid is one excellent way to keep the ball rolling and show that you care about the bid coming to the city.

Add comments about your experience or work with Norwich culture at, and upload Youtube videos and images in support of the bid too.

Send ideas, comments and support to - your contributions are still needed to help make Norwich an even better place to live, work and visit over the next few years.

Join the Norwich 2013 Facebook group at and help us find 2013 reasons to bring the City of Culture title to Norwich at

Follow the official Twitter feed at and the Evening News Back the Bid campaign at

Read more stories about the bid at

Tell the Evening News about events, projects or groups you're involved with, and why you're backing the bid, by emailing or calling 01603 772418.

Support Norwich on FacebookOfficial Norwich 2013 bid website