City of Culture 2017: Leicester celebrates shortlist place
Leicester has been shortlisted as a potential 2017 UK City of Culture, alongside Hull, Dundee and Swansea Bay.
The four cities were selected from a longlist of 11, including Aberdeen, Plymouth and Chester, one of the favourites.
Mayor of Leicester Peter Soulsby said: "We're down to those final four and we're determined to make sure we are the 2017 City of Culture."
The final decision will be made in November.'Build momentum'
A consortium including the city council had two months to prepare a bid.
Geoff Rowe, who chaired the bid team, said: "I honestly can't believe it. It's fantastic.
"We didn't know what the other cities' bids contained. I was incredibly confident about our bid but it is a competitive process.
"We just need to build momentum. We've got a huge amount of work to do. I know people are behind what we are trying to do."
Leicester's bid so far has included highlighting the city's cultural diversity, heritage and history, as well as themes around food and fashion.'Ambitious, realistic plans'
Fiona Allan, from the Curve Theatre, said: "We must now come together and work hard to drive the next stage of the process to ensure Leicester is selected as UK City of Culture 2017, a title and experience which will attract vast numbers of visitors, inward investment and take Leicester's profile to another level nationally and internationally."
Phil Redmond, creator of the TV series Grange Hill and Hollyoaks, chaired the independent advisory panel that came up with the shortlist of cities, one of which will follow in the footsteps of 2013 choice Londonderry.
He said: "It was incredibly difficult to decide on a shortlist as all the bids recognised the power of culture to bring about social change.
"In the end, the panel thought the four shortlisted cities offered plans that were ambitious, realistic and not only deliver for their communities but would maintain the momentum created around the success of Londonderry."