Page last updated at 10:29 GMT, Thursday, 20 May 2010 11:29 UK

City of Culture bid 'on its way'

The bid got a great send off from the City of Culture office in Derry
The bid got a great send off from the City of Culture office in Derry

The bid that hopes to win the UK City of Culture for Londonderry has left the city for final judgement.

A host of political and entertainment figures have given their support to the bid.

Earlier this week, the bid team met with the first and deputy first ministers in Belfast, and the Irish prime minister has also backed the bid.

"Derry and its hinterland have a rich and varied cultural history," said Brian Cowen.

"The city is now looking resolutely to the future. I have no doubt that Derry would prove itself an extremely worthy winner. I wish the bid team, and the people of the city, all the best."

Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody, who has family ties to Derry, said the city was "vibrant, warm and creative".

"Derry has, a number of times, set the standard for the arts in Northern Ireland," he said.

"The Undertones wrote apolitical anthems for the youth of Ireland at a time when we needed an escape from politics and religion the most.

"The Nerve Centre was highly functional and creative long before we set up the Oh Yeah Centre in Belfast.

Brendan McMenamin from Derry City Council and Taoiseach Brian Cowen
The Taoiseach Brian Cowen has backed Derry's City of Culture bid

"I think Derry's best characteristics are its people. They are funny and warm, and I'm not just saying that because I'm related to half of them."

Foyle MP Mark Durkan said the bid was an example of how the city could work together.

"Achieving City of Culture status would bring enormous benefits to our city," he said.

"It would not only attract tens of millions of pounds in spending throughout the year, but also create an incredible buzz for local people and visitors alike."

Derry is up against Birmingham, Sheffield and Norwich. The deadline to submit the bids is Friday, with a decision set to be made in early June.

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