Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to visit Sunderland's new Northern Spire bridge

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to visit Sunderland's new Northern Spire bridge later this month.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to visit Sunderland's new Northern Spire bridge later this month.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to visit Sunderland's new Northern Spire bridge.

They will meet some of the workers involved in the £117million bridge's three year construction during their visit on Wednesday, February 21, before officially crossing the landmark bridge, which is set to open this Spring. They will also meet local schoolchildren.

The Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Doris MacKnight, said: "I'm delighted that The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting Sunderland to see our striking new bridge. I understand The Duke of Cambridge takes a keen interest in engineering so I hope he will find it really interesting.

"This is a project that's of massive significance to everyone in Sunderland and across the North East, bringing with it significant economic, regeneration and transport benefits to our city and the wider North East region."

While the couple are in Sunderland, they will also officially open The Fire Station, a new arts hub for the city which houses a dance studio, drama studio, a heritage centre and a popular bistro, the Engine Room.

They will watch workshops and performances from some of the groups using The Fire Station and be given a tour of the building by MAC Trust Chair Paul Callaghan, CBE, and Helen Green, Director of The Fire Station.

They will also watch a Bollywood dancers performance, meet a group of young people involved in the Little Inventors project and talk to some of the musicians from The Bunker and Pop Recs.

They will also unveil a plaque marking the opening of The Fire Station.

Paul Callaghan, Chair of the MAC Trust said: "The Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture Trust is delighted to welcome The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to The Fire
Station.

"The renovation of this iconic building is a symbol of the city’s growing cultural vibrancy and to have this recognised by such important guests is a real honour and a privilege. I’m sure The Duke and Duchess will be impressed by the talent and enthusiasm of the young performers they will meet while they are here."

Helen Green, added: "This is a superb opportunity to celebrate the fantastic work being done by children and young people in arts and culture in Sunderland.

"The Fire Station is very proud to have been chosen to showcase so many projects such as Little Inventors, Curious Connections and Live Tales, just a few of the original and innovative groups being led by our cultural organisations as well as in schools and youth clubs across the city."

Keith Merrin, Chief Executive of Sunderland Culture, the organization responsible for bringing together the city’s main cultural venues and delivering major arts projects, said the Royal visit would help maintain the momentum within the city’s growing cultural sector.

He added: "The timing of the Royal visit couldn’t have been better, with so much happening already in the city’s cultural sector and some exciting news to be announced in the coming months. Such a high-profile opening of The Fire Station will certainly help to raise the visibility and image of the city’s overall cultural offer."