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Durham in the national spotlight at House of Commons

MPs and business leaders from across the country gathered at the House of Commons yesterday, to celebrate the place brand, which it's hoped will drive Durham's inward investment opportunities and visitor economy in a new and illuminating way.

Place of Light London launch

Cllr Simon Henig speaks about Durham Place of Light in the Houses of Parliament

The This is Durham, Place of Light brand has been developed by Visit County Durham, the destination management organisation for the county, core-funded by Durham County Council, to shine a light on the county, as part of their work to change perceptions and showcase the area as a great place to live, work, invest, study and visit.

The House of Commons event saw over 100 business leaders, industry partners and invited guests gather to find out more about some of the enlightening stories that set Durham apart as a beacon for businesses, visitors and residents alike.

Leader of Durham County Council, Councillor Simon Henig, said: "Durham is a fantastic county and we are justifiably proud of the many reasons that make it such a great place to live, work, invest, study and visit, which is why showcasing all of those stories on a national level is so important.

"The work that Visit County Durham has done to develop the Place of Light brand really places our assets in the spotlight, be it our breath-taking countryside and coast, the fascinating history and heritage embedded in our county, the vibrant cultural scene we are becoming so well-known for or the fantastic business success stories and opportunities that our county offers."

Icon for pdf Durham Place of Light at Westminster video transcript (PDF, 323.9kb)

Durham comes together to showcase what it has to offer

With the theme of light running through the event, exhibitors included: Durham University's globally recognised Institute for Computational Cosmology, performing research into the origins and evolution of the universe; The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership, which manages the county's dark skies, denoted for the superior stargazing potential and Spennymoor-based Thorn lighting who manufacture a wide-range of lighting solutions.

Martin Thompson the Thorn Academy of Light manager, said: "We were delighted to take part in the Place of Light celebration and it was a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our work, while being an ambassador for the county.

"Thorn is producing lighting products for clients all over the country and indeed into Europe, from our base in Spennymoor, where we have been employing local people for 65 years. This tradition of research, design, testing and producing is a real part of our heritage.

"At Thorn Lighting we strive to grow and prove our competitiveness in an ever demanding global market and have recently secured one of our most high value commissions to date, a contract to supply Wilkinsons stores across the country, worth in the region of £20 million. We've always been proud to be based in the county, where Jules Thorn originally placed us and continue to be a solid part of the industrial and homeland community."

Michelle Gorman, managing director of Visit County Durham, added: "It was fantastic to celebrate Durham Place of Light with such a high-profile event at the House of Commons in front of a prestigious audience. MPs, businesses, national agencies and key partners left illuminated about the county and some of the stories of success that make Durham shine."

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