September 7 2018 @ 10:48 by Chloe Holmes
The restoration of one of the North East’s most significant landmarks, Durham Cathedral, was supported by over 630 business leaders with a fundraising dinner last night (6 September 2018).
North East England Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Dinner was hosted in the nave of the Cathedral, the first time a major event of this type has been held there.
Through various fundraising opportunities during the evening a total of £75,480 was raised for the Cathedral’s Foundation 2020 which will protect the fabric of the building for future generations.
Guest of honour at the dinner was TV architect and Sunderland-born George Clarke who said he decided to become an architect after visiting the Cathedral with his grandad when he was seven.
He said: “This is my favourite building in the whole world and tonight, at this North East England Chamber of Commerce event, we are making history as there has never been a dinner party like this inside it. Durham Cathedral creates a sense of wonder that puts my amazing space projects to shame and captures everything that is great about the North East. This building represents the region’s strength, determination and Northern grit.”
The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham said: “The Cathedral has always been at the heart of the community, so it was our very great pleasure to welcome leaders from the region’s business community into their Cathedral for this spectacular event. Thanks to their generosity in supporting the Cathedral’s Foundation 2020 fundraising campaign, we’re a step closer to reaching our target. Our thanks goes to the North East England Chamber of Commerce for its vision and support of this hugely successful event and to the Heritage Lottery Fund and Barclays for their contribution to the evening’s fundraising.”
John McCabe, Chamber President spoke about the region’s achievements over the past year and the challenges at present. He said: “Politics is said to be the art of the possible and yet in my lifetime I cannot recall a period when national political leaders across the spectrum have appeared so out of touch, so far removed from the realities of daily life. On our relationship with Europe and on our global trading arrangements too many questions remain unanswered and businesses cannot plan for the future in a climate of such uncertainty.
“Unless Government listens to businesses and negotiates a Brexit that allows our firms open and unfettered access to key markets, then it will do a disservice to every business that wants to create and sustain jobs.”
The Chamber Dinner was sponsored by Gateshead College, Newcastle International Airport and Heathrow Airport supported the drinks reception. Franks the Flooring Store also supplied carpets for the nave to protect the building fabric.
As part of the evening there was an auction to win a piece of Durham Cathedral stone and it was won by the Learning Curve Group. The amount raised by the evening was match funded by Barclays and then that amount was match funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.