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Wednesday, 30 October, 2002, 12:11 GMT
Newcastle: 'Bid team confidence grows'
Gateshead Millennium Bridge
The Millennnium Bridge spans the Tyne
Political and business leaders on Tyneside are celebrating after the Newcastle-Gateshead bid reached the European Capital of Culture 2008 shortlist.

The team joined Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, and Oxford, on the final list of contenders unveiled by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell.

The six were selected from an original list of a dozen by a 12-person committee which visited the competing cities.

Sir Ian Wrigglesworth, chairman of the Newcastle-Gateshead Initiative, said: "It is fantastic news, there is always the worry that you are not going to make it.

'Regional bid'

"It is a great relief getting through to the final leg of race, and it is now going to be a very busy time for us."

After the shortlist was announced bookmakers William Hill made Newcastle-Gateshead the 7/4 favourite to win the city accolade.

Ant and Dec
The region's new cultural ambassadors

Gateshead council leader Mick Henry said: "This shows what a real regional bid can achieve, now we will all work together to get Newcastle Gateshead right where it belongs at the top."

And Newcastle City Council leader Tony Flynn said: "Winning the culture capital contest is very important to the region, and I would like to thank everyone who has supported the bid so far."

And Tim Cantle-Jones of regional development agency One NorthEast said if Newcastle Gateshead took the culture title it would boost tourism.

He added: "This will have real economic benefits for the region, and will give local people and businesses a lot of confidence."

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Heather Miller
Tyneside's joy at culture shortlist success

Click here to go to Tyne
See also:

02 Sep 02 | England
17 May 02 | UK
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