I have always lived in the North East except when I temporarily left the area to be a student in Liverpool. I have always felt connected to the region and always champion the great things it has to offer.
The best thing about living and working in the North East is the people. The warmth, tenacity and generosity of the people of our region always sets us apart. We have a great cultural and industrial heritage too; there’s so much to celebrate and enjoy here.
I love Newcastle city centre; it has great energy and colour. I often wander around at the weekend and feel very much at home and I’m a great fan of Fenwick. I love the way it represents quality, great customer service and reflects our region and its identity.
I am a foodie and there are so many places that I like to eat in the region. Depending on my mood, I like Broad Chare or Caffé Vivo but also the pubs on the Northumberland Coast where you can find the best crab sandwiches.
The visitor attraction the North East should be proudest of is the Angel of the North. I watched it be assembled all those years ago and I still love the sight of it as it appears on the horizon on the A1 or as it comes into view from the train. It symbolises so much of our region as it stands proud and welcoming.
I do much of Gateshead College’s business away from the campuses. A great new addition is the fantastic Crowne Plaza Newcastle – Stephenson Quarter. Michelle Percy, Andrew Fox and the team have done a great job and they are also providing brilliant opportunities for Gateshead College students to get their feet on the hospitality career ladder.
The best view in the North East is looking down Grey Street and Dean Street from the window of The Botanist. It’s stunning architecture right in the heart of our city.
What ‘makes’ the North East for me is our magnificent coastline and city and cultural heritage. These and our people who are known around the world for their hospitality and generosity.
My ‘hidden gem’ are the smokehouses at Craster. And Gateshead College’s own retail outlet in the Metrocentre, Handpicked. It showcases what we stand for: enterprise, innovation, high quality skills and development and provides so many students and small businesses in our region with the opportunity to sell their products.
If I could change or add anything in the North East, it would be a conference centre. Business colleagues worked hard a while ago to put together a proposal and I am hopeful that one day it will happen.