Durham and North East reap rich benefits from Ashes

England's Ashes triumph will also prove a major victory for the North East, it was claimed yesterday

Gareth Copley/Getty Images Ashes Test match at Emirates Durham ICG
Ashes Test match at Emirates Durham ICG

England's Ashes triumph will also prove a major victory for the North East, it was claimed yesterday.

The dramatic victory late on Monday evening meant that images from the picturesque Chester-le-Street ground went around the world yesterday.

Big crowds packed the Emirates Durham ICG for the first four days of the match, with many commenting favourably on the North East’s first Ashes test match.

And though the Monday victory meant that there was no fifth day to the game, tourism bodies said many cricket fans had opted to stay in the region and take in other attractions instead.

Increased visitor numbers are expected to have brought around �20m into the local economy, as well as proving the region’s ability to host top-class sports events after Olympic football came to Newcastle last year.

Durham County Council leader Coun Simon Henig said yesterday: “It’s estimated that the Ashes coming to County Durham will be worth some �20m to the local economy but the potential is even greater.

“We know that people who came to watch the cricket have also visited other attractions, hotels, restaurants, shops and cafes here and are impressed with what they have found. There is no doubt that this has proven an extremely valuable part of the county’s Year of Culture.”

Alongside the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels, the Ashes Test is one of the main attractions during a bumper year of activities in County Durham.

It is hoped that the third Lumiere festival in November, along with the Durham Streets Summer Festival in August and the Marie Curie Etape Pennines cycle race in October will also attract visitors to the county.

Melanie Sensicle, chief executive of Visit County Durham, said: “I thought the event has gone off brilliantly and Durham County Cricket Club have delivered a fantastic event.

“We have received a lot of positive feedback from the players and people at the ground and many said they were made to feel very welcome.

“The cricket club wanted to make it the friendliest Ashes and they have achieved it.

“The ground is beautiful and it’s lovely to have the Ashes played in such a rural location. We have showcased Durham and the North East extremely well. The fans were given a very friendly reception and welcome.

“A lot of people were hoping for the fifth day to go ahead but it would seem that people are making the most of their trip up here and have used their time to experience the county, which is really good news.”

Praise for Durham’s role in the Ashes victory came yesterday from Giles Clarke, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board. He said: “Trent Bridge, Lord’s, Emirates Old Trafford and Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground can take great pride in delivering great stages for this Investec Ashes drama.

“I thank the first four venues, their boards and their staff, for their determination to put on a great show.”

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