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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 June, 2003, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
Divided loyalties in culture bid
Cardiff Bay
Cardiff could be named European Capital of Culture
As decision day nears for the cities vying to represent the UK as European Capital of Culture 2008, people from north east Wales are divided in their support for Liverpool and Cardiff.

The two cities are competing against Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle/Gateshead and Oxford for the coveted title.

The winner will be announced by UK Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell on Wednesday.

Many cultural decision makers from north east Wales have backed Cardiff but shoppers questioned by BBC News Online were divided over their support.

"Cardiff gets everything, it all goes down south and nothing comes back up north," said one woman who did not wish to be named.

Public opinion

"Even though I'm Welsh and my children go to Welsh schools, I'd still say Liverpool."

However, Terry Hands, the artistic director at Clwyd Theatr Cymru in Mold, said performance arts in Wales would benefit if Cardiff were successful.

"We've been campaigning vigorously for Cardiff because it's a bid that includes the entire country," he said.

"I'm a passionate Liverpool Football Club supporter but it's the red shirts of Wales I'm supporting on this occasion.

"This bid would enable us to have a second home in the capital city and we could link north and south through theatre."

Wrexham resident Tony Matheson
Wrexham resident Tony Matheson is supporting Cardiff

If Cardiff is successful the Ebenezer chapel in the city centre will be adapted into a theatre to house Clwyd Theatr Cymru productions, Mr Hands said.

Liverpool has had a long affiliation with north east Wales and by 1813 one in ten of Liverpool's residents were Welsh.

At the end of the 19th century there were four National Eisteddfodau held in the city.

Most recently, Mersey Partnership - a company set up to promote tourism on Merseyside - said 1.3m people from Wales visited the region in 2000.

In 2002 six per cent of Liverpool's domestic visitors came over the border from north Wales.

However, Wrexham resident Tony Matheson said geographical proximity was not a good enough reason to support Liverpool's bid.

"Being Welsh I'd go for Cardiff. If you're from Wales you should remember your Welsh heritage," he said.

A poll in April showed that Birmingham had the greatest backing among the public, with Cardiff close behind and the joint Newcastle and Gateshead bid in third.




SEE ALSO:
Tyneside awaits culture decision
03 Jun 03  |  Tyne/Wear
Culture judges put city to test
23 Apr 03  |  South East Wales
Capital claims - European hopes
22 Apr 03  |  Wales


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