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Last Updated:  Monday, 31 March, 2003, 14:05 GMT 15:05 UK
Liverpool's culture bid lifts off
Helicopter used to take the culture bid document from Liverpool
The bid left the city in a chartered helicopter
Liverpool is sending its finished bid for the European Capital of Culture 2008 title to the government in a specially-chartered helicopter.

The plans will lift off from outside the city's famous Royal Liver Building on Monday.

The organisers say it will host Europe's biggest ever celebration of culture if it wins the competition.

The city's plans include 50 international festivals of culture and 1,000 community events.

The bid team say one billion people across the world would be involved in the celebrations.

It also plans Europe's biggest ever firework and laser show, and for the first time, opening and closing ceremonies.

Sir Bob Scott, Chief Executive of the Liverpool Culture Company
We have put together a first-class bid which will transform this city forever
Sir Bob Scott
Susan Woodward, creative director of the bid, said Liverpool would beat the five other shortlisted cities - Birmingham, Newcastle and Gateshead, Cardiff, Bristol and Oxford.

She said: "This is a defining moment - from now on Liverpool will never look back.

"Our cultural programme includes many world firsts."

A volunteer programme similar to that used for the Commonwealth Games will be set up in Liverpool.

Other plans include a world-class exhibition of Chinese Art at the Tate Gallery and Liverpool Museum, Europe's only annual America and Irish festival and a year-long African festival.

Liverpool's plans for 2008
The opening of the Fourth Grace
A museum of comedy unveiled in the city
An archive trail
A 24-hour music and theatre festival
An anthem for the city composed by Liverpool-born musicians

Sir Bob Scott, Chief Executive of the Liverpool Culture Company, said: ''No other city has swung behind an enterprise like this.

"We have put together a first-class bid which will transform this city forever.

"It is ambitious, visionary and will be delivered.

"All we want now is the chance to do it.''

The helicopter carrying the bid to London will lift off at about 1030 BST on Monday.

The bid will be scrutinised by a panel 12 judges and civil servants, who will visit the city in April.

The BBC's Andy Gill
"Liverpool's promising 50 international festivals and 1,000 community events"

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