Linda Colling: St Peter’s bid was ‘waste of time’

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NO chance that the World Heritage bid for the twin monastic site of Wearmouth-Jarrow will win. It was never going to happen.

St Peter’s is hugely significant historically as home of Sunderland’s famous son, medieval saint and greatest 8th century scholar, the Venerable Bede, the father of English history, who studied and prayed there.

But there is nothing there to attract people. Imagine how disappointed you’d be if you came from the other side of the world to see this site, which boasts a few Saxon stones in the west wall and tower.

It’s not worthy enough and certainly not in the same league as the breathtaking World Heritage Sites of Durham Cathedral and Castle, the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China.

How much did all this cost over six years? How little effort has been made to put it on the map – a few flags of Bede on lampposts and his Bakehouse open only two hours on a Sunday.

What a waste of time – just like the bid.

WE need all the help we can get, so with this Sunday designated Day of Prayer for the Media, churches have been called on to send up some mighty ones by the Church and Media Network.

Julie Etchingham, of ITV News at Ten, and Dan Walker, of BBC’s Football Focus, and many journalists and broadcasters are asking for prayer as well as yours truly. And perhaps Rebekah Brooks.

It comes in response to the intense discussion of media standards over the past 12 months. The media is under pressure as never before, with financial constraints and many illegal and dubious practices being rightly brought under the spotlight.

Yet, at its best the media performs a vital role, giving a voice to the voiceless, holding the powerful to account, keeping people informed and highlighting wrongdoing.