I am very disappointed that Sunderland hasn’t been named City of Culture 2021, as we put together an excellent bid, but I must say congratulations to Coventry on winning the title.

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To get as far as we did was an amazing achievement – and our bid has already brought millions of pounds of investment to the city. Sunderland’s best days are not behind us, but most definitely still to come.

It is also wonderful how the bid brought together people from all parts of the city, of all ages and of all walks of life. It created a very real sense of community Рa community that will, no doubt, continue to flourish.

The key thing now, nationally, is that people know that Sunderland is on the cultural map -; and that can’t be put back in the bottle. People know about us now.

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