Big names are now backing the area’s City of Culture bid

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ACTOR and comedian Eddie Izzard has given his support to the Hastings and 1066 Country bid to become the UK City of Culture.

The star, who lives in Bexhill, announced his support on social media network Twitter, tweeting: “Judging now taking place - good luck to them”

This week a delegation from the area arrived in London to put their case for the bid at a ‘classification session’

Bookmakers William Hill slashed their odds from 25 - 1 to 12 - 1 after Rye and Battle came on board for the bid.

The delegation included Hastings Borough Council leader Jeremy Birch and local experts on business and culture.

They were facing questions from an independent panel who had been appointed by the Department for Culture.

A series of questions had already been sent to the bid team asking them why it should be chosen ahead of other cities and areas in the running such as Leicester and East Kent. The bookmaker’s current favourite to succeed is Chester.

Judges will now decide on a four-strong shortlist from the 11 bids and this will be announced in June.

If successful, the bid could bring millions of pounds of investment and tourism to the area.

Current title holder Derry has enjoyed more than £100 million of investment and economic activity.

Hastings Borough Council’s head of marketing Kevin Boorman believes the area’s unemployment and deprivation issues could help with the bid.

He said: “Derry was a rank outsider and had similar issues.

“I have spoken to Derry’s legacy director Oonagh McGillion who told me the main three aspects are passion, community spirit and the legacy.

“We have got more than enough of each and are going in the right direction.”