Page last updated at 09:31 GMT, Tuesday, 18 May 2010 10:31 UK

Ministers back Derry's City of Culture bid

Derry is up against Birmingham, Sheffield and Norwich
Derry is up against Birmingham, Sheffield and Norwich

The first and deputy first ministers have given their support to Londonderry's bid to become the UK's City of Culture in 2013.

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness met the team behind the bid at special event in Belfast City Hall on Tuesday.

Derry City Council Chief Executive Valerie Watts said the city has every chance of winning.

"No matter what you call the city, the important thing is to bring this bid home for Derry," she said.

"I have every confidence that this is the winning bid."

The first and deputy first minister said a successful bid would benefit the community as a whole, boosting tourism and local business.

"Being short-listed has given the city of Derry a new lease of life. You cannot fail to notice a buzz around the city and a growing sense of pride and community spirit," said Mr McGuinness.

"I have always been extremely proud of the city and its people. The way the local communities have been pulling together in support of the bid has been impressive, but not surprising."

Mr Robinson said the bid had the "potential to create untold benefits in terms of regeneration, tourism and the economy".

"Although not from Londonderry I feel a great sense of pride in what has been achieved so far. Getting down to the last four cities out of a pool of 28 is in itself a great accomplishment.

"I am sure that your energy and hard work will be rewarded."

The bid is to be submitted on Friday. Norwich, Birmingham and Sheffield have also been shortlisted.

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