Queen of shops lends town Twitter support

Mary Portas
Mary Portas
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“SCARY, bonkers, yet really quite fabulous”.

That was the feedback retail expert Mary Portas gave to a town’s bid to attract her expertise.

The journalist and high street guru has been called on to help Seaham become one of 12 Portas Pilot areas.

The scheme invites towns to bid for a share of £1million to improve its stores and experience it offers shoppers.

It is part of Government plans to try and pull shopping areas back from the brink.

Mary, who has featured in a host of prime-time television programmes, has been tasked to lend her experience to the project.

Seaham’s bid will be submitted at the end of March, with support being encouraged from shops and their customers as well as town leaders, schools, community groups and other commercial ventures across the area.

After spotting the Echo’s story about the project on Friday, Mary Portas wrote on social networking site Twitter: “Scary, bonkers yet really quite fabulous” which went on to spark replies from businessman Carl Hopkins, who has continued to support the area after spending time in Easington as he was filmed for Channel 4 programme Secret Millionaire.

He told her: “Please go to Seaham and Easington to help them. I was there undercover, lovely people.”

Fellow followers Isobel Bailey, tweeting under the name @izzybbb, added: “Seaham is a lovely little town shops are struggling to survive there.

“The local luxury hotel and spa is amazing. Come to Seaham!,” while Daniel Wilson, who writes under the name @Drwilcouk, said: “I second this. I did my dissertation on the regeneration of Seaham. We need help from you Mary!”

The launch of the effort, which is being masterminded by Seaham Business Forum, also attracted comments to our website, sunderlandecho.com, including calls for Mary to visit Sunderland too.

Seaham looks set to go up against places including Hull, Redditch, Lowestoft, Gainsborough, and Broadstairs.

Steph Guidi, of Crazy Clearance in Church Street, is rallying round the former colliery town and Seaham Business Forum is meeting at 6pm in the Duke of Wellington pub in South Railway Street tomorrow, to discuss the campaign, with everyone welcome.

On hearing of Mary’s tweet, she said: “It’s excellent.”

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham