Eight hundred North East business leaders celebrated the region’s many achievements in Durham Cathedral last night and raised over £154,000 for the building’s restoration.
North East England Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner guests heard keynote speaker Sir Tim Laurence, chair, English Heritage emphasise the importance of buildings like the cathedral.
Sir Tim, who studied at Durham University, said: “Durham Cathedral helps to give people a sense of community and we know from research it can also improve their sense of well-being. As well as this, your fantastic cathedral plays an important role in attracting visitors with money to spend, which supports your local economy. Heritage and business work very well together as exemplified by this evening.”
The Dean of Durham, The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett said: “It was my pleasure to welcome our friends from the North East England Chamber of Commerce, back to our magnificent cathedral, for their annual dinner. The event offered the opportunity for us to share the rich heritage of the cathedral, with the North East business community, colleagues and partners alike.
“It also provided an unrivalled occasion for businesses in the region to come together in aid of Foundation 2020, our campaign to create a £10 million endowment fund to support the annual programme of conservation work that is required to maintain this world famous architectural treasure.
“We are delighted that on the night we managed to raise £154,000 towards the campaign, through the generosity of donations and matched funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Barclays.”
Chamber President, Lesley Moody, AES Digital Group spoke about the great strength of the region’s business community and the tremendous privilege of being able to hold the dinner in the cathedral which she described as ‘a space of such historic and spiritual significance’.
Her speech also pulled no punches about the current situation facing North East businesses “We will continue to do all we can to prevent No Deal and to urge Government and Parliament to secure a Brexit outcome that preserves our trading relationship and protects jobs.
‘We will do this not because of ideology, but because it is in the interests of the North East economy.’
The Chamber Annual Dinner which had the theme of Serving the Region, was sponsored by Gateshead College and Durham University. Business Durham supported the networking and entertainment and Heathrow supported the drinks reception. Franks the Carpet Store also helped to protect the cathedral fabric by providing carpeting throughout the nave
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