Famous entertainers and selfless campaigners are among the first 20 ‘local heroes’ to be immortalised in a Hollywood-style ‘walk of fame’ beside the Tyne.
The first batch of notable North East achievers to be honoured come from many walks of life. They include household names, such as Sir Bobby Robson, Sting and Brendan Foster, and community champions including Doreen Jardine and Alderman Ned Cowen.
These were among the inspirational figures chosen by the public in a project called NewcastleGateshead Local Heroes run by the two councils and destination marketing agency NewcastleGateshead Initiative.
When complete, bronze plaques will be laid from the Gateshead Millennium Bridge to the Swing Bridge along both Newcastle and Gateshead quaysides, creating a circular walk of fame.
Members of the public were asked to nominate individuals, either past or present, who really inspired them and who had made a significant contribution to NewcastleGateshead or the wider world over the last 60 years.
Coun Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, said he was delighted with the names people had put forward.
“Newcastle and Gateshead have nurtured many hundreds of talented, inspiring and notable individuals over the years, from scientists to sports personalities,” he said.
“This is a wonderful way to permanently celebrate their achievements and I’d like to thank the people who took part in the nominations to make sure their hero has a place on one of our most popular visitor locations.”
Coun Linda Green, Gateshead Council’s cabinet member for culture, said: “I am thrilled by the range and calibre of the people who have been nominated to be honoured on our first 20 plaques.
“Local Heroes focuses on these brilliant people who have made a difference to the life and reputation of our region.
“Having the names of these inspiring people cast into the landscape of our Quayside will show our visitors and local people that we do have a lot to be proud of.”
Sarah Stewart, chief executive of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said there had been more than 300 nominations. She said: “NewcastleGateshead attracts more than 17 million people from all over the world every year, thanks to a dynamic cultural offer, including our year-long programme of major festivals and events and a reputation for great shopping, nightlife and entertainment.
“Our famously friendly and welcoming people are as important, and honouring some of our most notable Local Heroes in this way will help us tell the story of NewcastleGateshead.”
The first bronze plaques will be laid in the New Year.
Annual calls for further suggestions will follow and more plaques will be added.