Battle and Rye to be included in City of Culture Bid

10/10/09- Battle of Hastings re-enactment at Battle Abbey.  'Photo by Steve Hunnisett

10/10/09- Battle of Hastings re-enactment at Battle Abbey. 'Photo by Steve Hunnisett

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BATTLE, Rye and the rest of rural Rother will be included in the Hastings and Bexhill bid for the UK City of Culture 2017, it has been confirmed this week.

Re-named the Hastings and 1066 Country UK City of Culture bid to reflect the inclusion of Battle and Rye, the area is among 11 places which have put themselves forward for the accolade, including Aberdeen, Portsmouth and Southampton, Southend-on-Sea and Dundee.

A shortlist of four will be announced in June and a final decision will be made in November.

The bid is being led by Hastings Borough Council, with support from Rother District Council.

Rother District Council leader Cllr Carl Maynard said: “We are delighted the Hastings and 1066 Country UK City of Culture bid has been rebadged to demonstrate the importance of Battle, Rye, Bexhill and the rest of Rother to the bid.

“It was always the plan for the whole of the Rother district to be a part of this bid, along with Bexhill, due to its rich heritage and cultural offer, and now this is reflected in the name.

“As the location of the most famous battle of all time, Battle is arguably the birthplace of our nation’s culture and 1066 forms a key part of our offer.

“Rye is one of the most beautiful places in the country and is known for its cultural creativity and sense of community.

“Both towns, and wider Rother, were seen as essential to any bid along with Hastings and Bexhill.

“We hope residents give our bid to be the UK City of Culture 2017 their full support.”

Kevin Boorman, of Hastings Borough Council, said: “We always expected it would be a much bigger thing than Hastings and Bexhill.

“At the beginning it was intended to use other places in 1066 Country.

“There’s a lot of cultural things going on in the area and we thought to do justice to the whole area and give ourselves the best chance of winning, we thought we would use 1066 Country.”

If the bid is successful, Mr Boorman has promised a ‘spectacular event’ to take place in October 2017 to mark the 951st anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.

The accolade is currently held by Derry, which has enjoyed £100 million of investment and economic activity as a result of being a UK City of Culture, according to Mr Boorman.

He added: “If we could get that kind of activity in Hastings and 1066 Country, that would be amazing.

“If we could attract more visitors to the area, that would be great for us.”

The UK City of Culture status is for one year only.

Residents and visitors can back the bid by ‘liking’ the official Hastings and 1066 Country UK City of Culture 2017 Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hastingsbexhillcityofculture or by using the hashtag #1066cityofculture on Twitter.