Spanish ambassador visits County Durham
Spain's most senior government official in the UK visited County Durham today to see Durham Place of Light for himself.
Mr Bastarreche, who has been the Spanish Ambassador to the UK since March 2017, met with The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham, for a tour of Durham Cathedral
He called in to Durham University's Palace Green Library to view Spanish manuscripts and records, meet with Spanish staff and students and learn about the recently established Zurbaran Centre for Spanish and Latin American Studies.
Durham University hosted a welcome dinner for the ambassador where he met with university staff, council officers and local business leaders.
The ambassador also visited St John's School and Sixth Form in Bishop Auckland to see how Spanish is taught in County Durham schools. While at the school, he also caught up with a group of Spanish exchange students who are visiting Durham this week.
The council and the university have worked with the Education Office of the Spanish Embassy to establish a special programme to support teacher training and the teaching of Spanish in primary and secondary schools in the county.
Mr Bastarreche held discussions with a group of primary and secondary school head teachers on the teaching of Spanish as a modern language and also Spanish culture.
The ambassador's visit concluded with a tour of regeneration projects led by The Auckland Project in Bishop Auckland, including the new Spanish Gallery and the restoration of Auckland Castle.
Cllr Simon Henig, Leader of the council, said: "We were delighted to welcome the ambassador to see what makes Durham so special and to discuss how we and our partners can work together to celebrate Spanish art and culture in our area."
Mr Bastarreche, Spanish Ambassador to the UK, said: "I am really impressed by the dynamism of County Durham in all respects - the rich heritage, the outstanding university and the ambitious regeneration project that is now developing in Bishop Auckland.
"I think this set of initiatives is going to be a major contribution to Spanish language and Hispanic culture in the region and will create new opportunities for County Durham, as a unique hub for Hispanic culture within the UK."