Generations of my family are native North Easterners so I have spent most of my life here. I ventured away from the region for university and on my first career steps – plus a stint travelling the world with my husband – but returned to the region in 2003. I haven’t looked back since.
The best thing about living and working in the North East is how we blend our heritage and modern thinking in every aspect of life. Every day I learn about new ideas and enterprises, as well as seeing our more traditional businesses and industries developing and adapting to new opportunities. It’s awe-inspiring stuff.
The National Trust provides some of my favourite places to spend quality leisure time with my family. How the trust has evolved to engage and inspire through the development of new facilities and events at the sites across the region is brilliant and each trip to Cragside, Gibside or Wallington brings more mud, tired feet and happy faces.
The best meal I had recently was at Walwick Hall on Hadrian’s Wall, just outside Hexham. It offered wonderful food, fantastic attention to detail, stunning artistry and exceptional customer service.
The village shop in Humshaugh – where my parents live – is my hidden gem and its existence says so much about the people of our region. In 2009, the post office/store in the village announced it was closing and the community got together to save it. Roll forward to 2017 and the award-winning store is now a community venture run entirely by volunteers from the village. It’s a vibrant shop and along with The Crown Inn across the road is the real hub of the village. It’s also giving my children early work experience as they often help Grandma on her weekend shift.
We have many excellent corporate facilities in the region, although a convention centre would be a welcome new addition. I can always rely on the team at Artisan and The Biscuit Room. The team at CBI is delighted with their chef’s ingenuity and fantastic front of house staff and we’ve held our annual dinner there over the last three years. It’s been great to see how the business has grown from strength to strength.
There are so many fantastic views in the North East but but the iconic view of the Quayside and the bridges across the River Tyne is second to none. So much of my life and happy memories are connected to the bridges – my Grandfather’s blacksmith shop at the end of the High-Level Bridge for example or the feeling of knowing I was ‘home’ driving over the Tyne Bridge after a long journey.
It’s been said many times before but what makes the North East for me is the people. Our region is rich in culture, beautiful countryside and fabulously welcoming and supportive communities. It’s just the best place to live and I’m proud to call it my home.