Town of Culture Award

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:42 pm on 23rd January 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Flint Caroline Flint Labour, Don Valley 5:42 pm, 23rd January 2019

I congratulate my right hon. Friend David Hanson on securing the debate. Sir Walter Scott sat in the Boat Inn pub in the village where I live and drafted his novel “Ivanhoe”, inspired by Conisbrough castle. Ted Hughes lived in Mexborough, did his newspaper round through Old Denaby, and went on to write his famous poems. Of course there are others, such as Diana Rigg and Lesley Garrett, and let us not forget Brian Blessed—all home-grown in Doncaster.

Today’s debate is about having a showcase to celebrate our heritage and what we have achieved over the centuries in our towns and villages, but I would not like the Minister to think that this is all about the past. It is about the future as well; it is about creating new art, new music, new plays, new novels and new poems, as well as enriching a sense of aspiration within our communities. A person does not have to go to London or our cities to get a job as an actor, musician or artist, or to work in the creative sector. We can grow those sectors in the towns and villages of the UK. I hope the Minister will act quickly to establish the town of culture award.