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We wish 'LegenDerry' well in its year as UK City of Culture.

Byline: PaddyShennan

Likes pubs, Everton, Half Man Half Biscuit. Hates everything else PEOPLE in Liverpool will have been sending the warmest of wishes across the Irish Sea, as Derry in Northern Ireland begins its year as the UK's first City of Culture.

It was at a special ceremony in our city in July 2010 that Derry learned it had beaten a total of 14 cities - including the shortlisted Birmingham, Norwich and Sheffield - to win the honour.

And the UK City of Culture competition was launched by the Liverpool-born former Culture Secretary Andy Burnham after the success of Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture, while the eight-strong judging panel was headed by Phil Redmond.

Then a delegation from Derry arrived here in November 2010 to see how Liverpool's creative and digital sectors benefited from the Capital of Culture programme and to take part in discussions on the impact 2008 had on our economy.

All of this, together with our historical links with Ireland, explains why we will be taking a strong interest in Derry's 2013.

And there will also be the natural inclination for many of us to say: "Blimey, is it really five years since we had our year in the sun?" One of the reasons it doesn't seem like five years is because our cultural legacy from 2008 has been so strong. Events continue to take place which have their roots in 2008, while our city has grown more confident, anbitious and dynamic.

The positive ripple effects, happily, are still being felt - not least in the increase in the amount of visitors and the changing perceptions of so many outsiders.

Image is all-important - not least when a city has a negative one which leads to damaging media reporting and people staying away. Derry has obviously suffered from a poor image due to The Troubles, but if it embraces its year as UK City of Culture as much as we embraced ours as European Capital of Culture then there is every reason for its people to feel optimistic about the long-term benefits.

In 2008 Liverpool became known as The World In One City - while Derry/Londonderry is being promoted as LegenDerry.

I see what they've done there, and I like it.

Good luck "LegenDerry" - have a great year!

? Follow me on Twitter @PaddyShennan
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 2, 2013
Words:384
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