Dean hails new start as Coventry wins 2021 City of Culture bid

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THE Dean of Coventry, the Very Revd John Witcombe, has expressed delight and pride at the news that Coventry has won its bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021.

The city succeeded against competition from Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent, Swansea, and Sunderland to win the title, and will inherit City of Culture status from Hull.

Dean Witcombe said: “We are delighted to have been at the heart of Coventry’s successful bid to be UK City of Culture 2021. We are so proud of our city, and everyone who has worked in such close partnership to make this dream a reality.”

Coventry will be the third UK City of Culture, after Hull and Londonderry-Derry, and will host activities throughout 2021 to celebrate the city. Hull has benefited from about 350,000 extra visitors in 2017, and has hosted events such as the Turner Prize.

Dean Witcombe went on: “The cathedral will be at the centre of our city’s preparations and celebrations, and we know that we have a big task on our hands to meet and exceed expectations for a world-class programme that draws on our own rich arts heritage, and offers something memorable back to the world for a new generation, just as we did in the year of our consecration in 1962.

“This is a new beginning for Coventry, for her cathedral, for our international role in peace and reconciliation, for our future.”

The cathedral is expecting to benefit from thousands more visitors because of the status, and plans are in place to organise special events in the run-up to 2021, and during the year itself.

Next year also marks the centenary of Coventry diocese and the elevation of St Michael’s, Coventry, to cathedral status before being reduced to a ruin in the Coventry Blitz of 1940. Its replacement, designed by Basil Spence, hosted Mogwai, a Scottish rock band, as part of Coventry’s City of Culture bid. “This will be a demanding as well as an exciting time for the cathedral staff, volunteers and community,” Dean Witcombe said. “It’s going to be quite an adventure — and we are proud to be part of it.”

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