Community champion Anne Youldon believes being named UK City of Culture 2021 would transform Sunderland.
Anne, 62, is a retired civil servant and lives in the Barnes area of Sunderland.
Today she explained why she became one of the 21 community champions backing the bid.
“I am passionate in the belief that winning this bid would have a huge transformative effect on the city in which I have lived all of my life.
“Growing up, we were always taught to put our ‘heart and soul’ into everything we hoped to achieve.
"I feel that the people of Sunderland - with their character, humour, work ethic, courage and resilience - are the heart of our city, and our proud heritage - in music, dance, theatre, sport, museums, art and our amazing Glass Centre and all it produces - is the soul.
“I love this city for the opportunity it affords me to enrich my life.
"Whether it be a visit to the Empire to enjoy a ballet, opera or show, listening to live music at various venues, attending a flame-working course or viewing an exhibition at the Glass Centre, meeting an author and discussing and purchasing books in our bookshop, or attending a book club, I would love to inspire others to enjoy all we have to offer in this city.
“A particular challenge I believe, is to encourage those who do not see art and cultural activities as ‘being for them’, and ensuring the bid - and whatever happens subsequently - is totally inclusive and attempts to reach out to all.”
Sunderland is up against Coventry, Paisley, Swansea and Stoke as it bids to be named UK City of Culture.
A successful bid would put the city firmly into the cultural spotlight, attracting millions of pounds into the local economy through investment in the arts and an increase in visitors and jobs.
It would kick-start a four-year period of growth, innovation and creativity and culminate in a year of exciting cultural and artistic events.
Final second-round bids must be submitted by this Friday, September 29, and the successful city will be announced in Hull, the current UK City of Culture, in December.