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NewcastleGateshead Local Heroes opens on Quayside

24th March 2014

Categories: Convention Bureau News

Local Heroes take their first steps on a specially created ‘walk of fame’ trail around
NewcastleGateshead Quayside.

Nominated by the public, 20 of the area’s most inspiring people from the past 60 years have been honoured with a bronze plaque installed on one of the destination’s most iconic visitor sites – the Quayside.

The trail was opened today (24th March) by the wife of the late Sir Bobby Robson, Lady Elsie Robson, who commented: “I am proud that Bob has been honoured as part of NewcastleGateshead Local Heroes. To have his achievements, both in football and through the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, commemorated and remembered in this way is wonderful. That he was nominated by the public for the honour is even more touching.”

Lady Elsie Robson attended the launch alongside Local Heroes, their friends and family including, Kathryn Tickell; Brendan Foster; Dame Margaret Barbour; Professor of Clinical Genetics; Sir John Burn; photographer, Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen; children’s author, David Almond; Ray Laidlaw Rod Clements and Ray Jackson from Lindisfarne; community champion Doreen Jardine from Blake law; and the families of the late Alderman Edward Cowen and writer, Julia Darling. 

Sarah Stewart, chief executive of destination management and marketing organisation, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “NewcastleGateshead Local heroes received more than 300 nominations in its first year – an overwhelming endorsement of some truly inspirational individuals. We attract more than 17 million people from all over the world every year thanks to a dynamic cultural offer and a reputation for great shopping, nightlife and entertainment. Our famously friendly and welcoming people are as important, and honouring some of our most notable Local Heroes in this way will help us tell the story of NewcastleGateshead.”

The project forms part of the already vibrant offer for leisure and business tourists to the destination. The public were encouraged to nominate individuals that made them feel genuinely inspired and proud to call the place home.

Paralympian and freeman of Gateshead, Stephen Miller was also honoured by the scheme, he said: “I am very humbled and proud to be honoured as part of NewcastleGateshead Local Heroes. There is no better feeling than having your achievements recognised by others, even though everything I do, I do because it gives me great enjoyment. I'm a North East lad and love the region, which makes this so special.

“I was surprised to be nominated by the public, as there has been so many great people from NewcastleGateshead, to be in such company is a real honour.”
NewcastleGateshead Local Heroes is delivered and managed jointly by Gateshead and Newcastle City Councils in partnership with destination marketing organisation, NewcastleGateshead Initiative.
Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “I’m delighted the public have whole-heartedly supported this project and nominated some truly inspirational individuals. Newcastle has nurtured many hundreds of talented, inspiring and notable individuals over the years, from scientists to sports personalities. This is a wonderful way to permanently celebrate their achievements.”

Gateshead Council Cabinet Member for Culture, Cllr Linda Green, said: “Here in Gateshead we have seen some truly magnificent developments – we host world-class athletics and welcome international artists daily at both Sage Gateshead and BALTIC. Local Heroes focuses on our brilliant people, those who have made a difference to life in Gateshead and it’s fantastic to have their names set into the landscape of our Quayside.”

2013 was the first year for NewcastleGateshead Local Heroes. Nominations were sought from August to October and there will be an annual call for further suggestions, when more Local Heroes’ plaques will be added. For further information on the project and those nominated visit     

Sir Bobby Robson, Sting, Ant and Dec, Kathryn Tickell, Brendan Foster , Stephen Miller , Alan Shearer, Dame Margaret Barbour, Professor John Burn, Professor Higgs, David Almond, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, Lindisfarne, Robson Green, Julia Darling, Sister Winifred Laver, Cardinal Basil Hume, Alderman Edward Cowen JP (Ned) and Doreen Jardine.


Media Enquiries:
Shelley Armstrong
Media & PR Manager, NewcastleGateshead Initiative 
T. +44 (0)191 440 5739
M. +44 (0)7717 631 109

Notes to editors:
• NewcastleGateshead Initiative is a destination management and marketing agency; a public-private partnership supported by Gateshead and Newcastle City Councils, working with around 170 private sector partner organisations across NewcastleGateshead and the wider region
• NewcastleGateshead Initiative is supported by a board offering expertise from a range of sectors and professions. We also work with a wide range of partners, stakeholders and businesses, who share our ambition to inspire people to visit and to live, learn, work and invest in NewcastleGateshead.
o Our marketing & communications team works to promote and position NewcastleGateshead as a vibrant tourism destination, through targeted campaigns nationally and internationally. Our visitor information team helps ensure visitors have the best possible experience when they’re here, providing information and support.
o Our cultural programming team work with partners across the destination to bring together NewcastleGateshead’s cultural offer and deliver some of our most popular festival & events, including EAT! NewcastleGateshead, Juice Festival and the NewcastleGateshead Winter Festival.
o Our Convention Bureau uses local knowledge and expertise to help organise conferences, meetings or events in NewcastleGateshead and the surrounding area. It provides a free service including, venue sourcing and accommodation booking, to arranging transport and entertainment for delegates
o Our inward investment team helps businesses locate, expand and flourish in NewcastleGateshead, providing a range of services to make it easy to realise their ambitions for growth
• United by seven bridges across a spectacular riverscape, Newcastle (a city on the north bank of the River Tyne) and Gateshead (a town on the south bank) form a single, diverse and extremely vibrant visitor destination. World-class culture, vibrant nightlife, award-winning dining, inspiring heritage, fantastic shopping and acclaimed architecture are combined here like nowhere else, by the famous Geordie spirit which is symbolised by Antony Gormley’s iconic Angel of the North as it welcomes travellers to the area.

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