Two local ambassadors have been announced to support Southampton’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2025.

Don John, founder of Black History Month in Southampton, and Lynda Walton, volunteer Community Rep for Holyrood Estate, join the bids growing list of cohorts that represents the city’s diverse voices.

Don, a Race & Diversity Consultant, said: “For me, culture is about people and we certainly have such a diverse set of people in Southampton. Anything to do with culture should embrace all of those things and give an identity to the city.

Among Don’s many accolades includes co-writing ‘The Black History of Southampton 16th Century to 21st Century’. He has been the Director of Don John Consultants and Positive Message Limited for over 30 years and has provided consulting services for other local authorities, police services, military throughout the UK. He has also been a consultant for ITV, BBC and independent film companies.

Don added: “I’m hoping UK City of Culture 2025 will allow us the opportunity to involve the number of different communities we have in the city and hopefully my work will make a contribution to that.”

Joining Don as a local ambassador is Lynda Walton, who is a grassroots Community Rep for the Holyrood Estate as well as a phone befriender for Communicare’s ‘Hello Southampton’, said: “The motivation for my voluntary work comes from having a love of the residents and the city.

“Culture to me is being inclusive and I feel that most communities in Southampton are very strong – they are the heartbeat of our city. I would like to see the individuals, communities and businesses all working together inclusive of the various cultures, religions, communities.”

Listening to the voices of the bid’s ambassadors and wider community, Southampton 2025 and the John Hansard Gallery recently delivered a series of workshops for local organisations, to help them form their own strategies to help inclusivity in the city.

Under the guidance of Inclusion consultant, Dr Jan McKenley, the workshops reflected the lived experiences of those not yet adequately represented in the cultural and corporate organisations across the city. The voices of these underrepresented groups were a significant part of the process.

Don and Lynda join the bid’s diverse cohort of local and national ambassadors, including Baroness Floella Benjamin DBE, Sally Churchward, Craig David MBE, Kristianne Drake, Charlotte Edwards CBE, Dame Wendy Hall, Peter Hull MBE, Zakir Hussain, Larry Kazingizi, Gus McKechnie, Lawrie McMenemy MBE, Kuti Miah, Jenny Packham, Kate Prince MBE, Dr. Abdoulie Sanneh, Jayanti Shah MBE, James Ward-Prowse, Bill Woodrow and Thelma Bishop Young.

To learn more about the people who shape Southampton's bid to become UK City of Culture 2025, please visit: