A HOST of famous faces have backed the bid for Southampton to become the next City of Culture.

Southampton was shortlisted in March alongside Bradford, County Durham and Wrexham County Borough.

And with the judges' arrival in the city less than 24 hours away, the race to the crown is heating up.


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The star-studded list of ambassadors voicing their support

Craig David

Southampton native and RnB sensation Craig David, who grew up on the Holyrood Estate and went on to sell over 15,000,000 records worldwide, is an avid supporter of the city's bid.

Earlier this year Craig declared his heartfelt pride in the city.

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He also praised Southampton’s inclusivity and talent and said that winning the bid is vital for the future hopes of younger residents in the city.

Speaking to Southampton2025, Craig said: "This city is bursting with culture, much of it self-made by the people of Southampton, and it will always be home in my heart.

"Now we have the opportunity to be part of the story of our future city and tell it to the world."

Southampton FC player, James Ward-Prowse

Daily Echo: Photo: PAPhoto: PA

Paralympians, Peter Hull and Thelma Young

Paralympic hero Thelma, who is also a volunteer for the city's Scouting movement, said: “For me, the true meaning of culture is not just art, music and theatre, it’s about the community, it’s about people living together from all walks of life, and learning from each other, and Southampton’s diverse and multi-cultural city is the epitome of this.

“Southampton is not just somewhere you go to board a cruise ship or head off on an aeroplane, it’s a wonderful city that we should all be proud of."

Singer and politician, Baroness Floella Benjamin

"The city is and has always been a place that has evolved and absorbed different cultures which has created a rich tapestry of diversity that inspires young people to reach their full potential.

Daily Echo: Photo: PAPhoto: PA

"I feel certain Southampton will continue to do so long into the future, for generations to come."

English cricketer, Charlotte Edwards CBE

Charlotte, who "absolutely fell in love with the city" said: "I think Southampton has an amazing chance of winning this bid; it's a young, diverse, vibrant city with so much to offer."

British sculptor, Bill Woodrow

"For me, culture is an exchange of ideas.

"Culture doesn't exist with one person. It has to have people and places for that to happen."

Other well-known faces supporting Southampton include: 

Restaurateur, Kuti Miah

Daily Echo: Kuti MiahKuti Miah

Musician, Zakir Hussain

Choreographer, Kate Prince

Fashion designer, Jenny Packham

Daily Echo: Tonje Thoresen/PATonje Thoresen/PA

Rowing world record winner, Gus McKechnie

English football coach, Lawrie McMenemy

Sotonians who are heavily involved in the city community and have a big impact on the area have also thrown their support behind the bid.

From scientists to community figures, people across the city are keen for Southampton to claim the crown.

  • Southampton Cultural Education Partnership Member, MC for Roots2Roots, and youth coordinator Larry Kazingizi
  • Jayanti Shah, director of Positive Message Ltd, and a leading figure in the success of Black History Month for over 15 years
  • Dr. Abdoulie Sanneh, Community Cohesion and Diversity Officer at Southampton City Council
  • Dame Wendy Hall, University of Southampton-educated computer scientist and inventor of the computer-like ‘hypermedia’ system
  • Sally Churchward, founding editor at In Common, an independent community-based news site for Southampton
  • Don John, founder of Black History Month in Southampton
  • Lynda Walton, volunteer Community Rep for Holyrood Estate
  • Kristianne Drake, co-director for In-Focus which offers creative education programmes for young people

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