With just days to go before the UK City of Culture 2017 shortlist is announced, Hastings & 1066 Country is celebrating a week of top news to strengthen its case to be included in the final four.
In the last few days TV and radio star Graham Norton has added his public endorsement for the bid, joining Keane and Eddie Izzard who have already pledged their support. “Being named city of culture is an enormous honour for any area but I can think of nowhere more deserving than 1066 country,” Graham enthused. “Bexhill and Hastings and the surrounding areas are packed to bursting with energy, creativity and attractions. Make it official and declare 1066 country the City of Culture.”
Part of the attractions and creativity is the town's Jerwood Gallery with its nationally important collection of 20th and 21st century art. This week the building has been recognised for its architectural excellence in the Royal Institute of British Architects annual awards.
Just along the seafront from Jerwood is the location for a major new public art feature and again just this week the winning design has been announced. By next Spring Henry Krokatsis’ Helter Skelter will be in place – a 13-metre high commission that will really stand out on the shoreline. A little further along the promenade is the burnt out Hastings Pier and the Pier Trust has just announced that the restoration and rebuilding will start by the end of July.
Just one of these events would be news in itself, but to get three major announcements in as many days is quite incredible, and is evidence of just how strong our bid is. And only a week ago Hastings was voted finalist in the top town category by the prestigious Academy of Urbanism.
There is already huge interest in our bid with its 1066 cultural long march retreading Harold’s steps of 950 years and groundbreaking plans to develop world class cultural education in our local schools
Large cities would be proud of achievements such as these, and we've done all this ourselves. I say let us be UK City of Culture 2017 and we will really put on a show that won't be forgotten!