THIS is our time! That's the rallying cry from high profile figures in entertainment, sport, leisure, politics and business, who are backing Bradford's bid to be UK City of Culture 2025.

Superstar magician Dynamo, who grew up in Delph Hill, Wyke, said: “Bradford is where my heart is and has always been a hidden gem; a place filled with magic and wonderful people. The city is often forgotten by the rest of the country and I believe it’s time to shine a spotlight on our future dreams. I’m proud to back this bid for Bradford to become the UK’s next City of Culture in 2025. Having seen first hand the hard work, passion and commitment of the local community, I really believe this is our time.”

Gareth Gates, who shot to fame on Pop Idol, said: "Wishing my hometown Bradford all the very best in its bid to be crowned UK City of Culture 2025. Well done to all those who have got us onto the shortlist.

"With its hugely diverse cultural communities, great people and heritage, Bradford absolutely meets the criteria for this title. Come on Bradford!"

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Gareth Gates at Odsal Stadium, where he is staging festivals featuring major pop acts in JuneGareth Gates at Odsal Stadium, where he is staging festivals featuring major pop acts in June

Alhambra panto king Billy Peace said: "Good luck to Bradford on the bid to become city of culture. For me Bradford should win because over the last 23 I’ve seen fantastic changes all for the better! There is a wonderful vibe now and people are proud to belong to Bradford and so am I! We can do this!"

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Billy Pearce says "Bradford can do this!"Billy Pearce says "Bradford can do this!"


Bradford actress Natalie Gavin, whose TV work includes Line of Duty and Gentleman Jack, said: “Bradford means so much to me. It’s the place and people that inspire me. Now is absolutely the right time for everyone to pay attention to Bradford, to see it how those who call it home do, and let themselves feel curious and excited about how much Bradford could do as UK City of Culture. I’m right behind the bid to make it happen.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Natalie Gavin is proud to be a Bradfordian Natalie Gavin is proud to be a Bradfordian

Former Great British Bake Off contestant and cookery author Sandy Docherty said she would be thrilled if Bradford won: “Bradford has a great history and brings so many people of different cultures together.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Sandy Docherty is backing the bid Sandy Docherty is backing the bid

Sandy’s new Great Northern Cookbook features her version of Battenberg cake, a ‘Bradenberg’ reflecting how Bradford is home to, and welcomes, cultures from across the world. She added: “Bradford needs that chance to show the world it has something to stand up and be counted for. Bradford has a big heart and it needs something to get that heart beating again.”

David Wilson, Director of Bradford UNESCO City of Film, said: "The Bradford district has so much to offer as a UK City of Culture and it really feels like our time to share some of the amazing stories and talent from the diverse range of communities across this district. Winning the title would enable us to share our amazing culture with the rest of the UK and beyond."

Jo Quinton-Tulloch, Director of the National Science and Media Museum said: “We’re incredibly proud to call Bradford home and to back the city’s bid to be the UK’s City of Culture in 2025. Bradford is unique and we have a history of doing things differently! Becoming City of Culture will not only transform our District by shining a spotlight on our existing, wonderful cultural assets but also create new and different opportunities for everyone to enjoy arts and culture. It will bring more visitors, create new jobs and showcase to the world what modern British culture looks like - this is Bradford’s time!”

James Mason, Chief Executive of the West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Bradford is a city bursting with a cultural identity that separates itself from the rest of the UK in terms of its people, places, food, drink, heritage and personality. The city will come together like no other and welcome the world in 2023!”

Mike Cartwright from Bradford Chamber of Commerce said: “People already living and working here know full-well about Bradford’s range and strength of cultural diversity, and how the city, its people and business would embrace the designation if we were to win the accolade. We just have to convey and demonstrate all that history and strength to the judges during their visit; and also to highlight the step-change it could make for us.

"We can show, as Hull and Coventry did, how the designation will bring in much-needed business investment. The faltering city centre would receive a big boost in footfall and the tourism sector would also benefit hugely. As a driver for civic cohesion and economic uplift, City of Culture would be a significant catalyst in moving Bradford up several league tables of advancement and progress."

Rebecca Yorke, Interim Director of the Brontë Parsonage Museum said: “The people living and working across the Bradford district today are creative, trailblazing and radical, just like the Brontës were. Bradford2025’s bold ambition to drive positive social, economic and environmental change through a vibrant and innovative cultural programme is visionary while being rooted in community, and it totally deserves to secure us the title of UK City of Culture 2025.”

Alex Croft, creative director of Bradford arts centre Kala Sangam, said: "It's been incredible to see people from across Bradford's communities come together to shape and back the bid - there's so much energy and passion here and it just feels like the right time for us. We're ready to welcome the world to Bradford!"

Syima Aslam, director of Bradford Literature Festival, said: "The youngest city in Europe, Bradford has a rich heritage and vibrant culture shaped by the international communities who have made it their home. The perfect choice for City of Culture, Bradford would create a cultural extravaganza that would shine across the north and internationally."

Bradford West MP Naz Shah said Bradford's story is one of "resilience, strength and creativity". She said: "It is exciting that the judges for the City of Culture 2025 competition will be visiting Bradford today, to see and experience this great city firsthand. Bradford has everything to become City of Culture.

"There are over 120 languages spoken in the Bradford district, we are the youngest city in Europe and a City of Sanctuary, we are a UNESCO City of Film, we have a world- renowned literature festival and a world heritage site, we are the home city of David Hockney and the Bronte Sisters, and the list doesn’t end here.

“A decade of austerity, cuts and neglect by national governments has not stopped Bradfordians from expanding their role in arts, culture and diversity. I am confident the judges will see Bradford’s potential and crown it 2025 City of Culture.”

Keighley and Ilkley MP Robbie Moore said: “Previous areas to be named City of Culture have benefited hugely with tens of millions of pounds being invested in the arts, music, culture and tourism which have all helped drive the local economy. I have been banging the drum for the whole of the Bradford district, including Keighley and Ilkley to win the 2025 Culture title, so we can drive forward our cultural offering, put our area on the map and benefit economically from increased visitor footfall.

"Across the district, but particularly in Keighley and Ilkley, there are so many fantastic museums, attractions and small businesses such as the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, the Brontë Parsonage, and the Manor House in Ilkley. The judges will be blown away by our passion to promote our area, and I hope they will see the huge potential we have. New visitors and investment could do so much for our area and it is of course key the whole district benefits from a potential title, and I will be working hard to ensure this is the case.”

Shipley MP Philip Davies said: “I know many people have questioned why Bradford Council should spend so much money on this bid when it is failing in so many other areas, and of course I understand that concern. However, now that the bid has been submitted it is absolutely essential that Bradford wins. Winning would be prestigious and - as we have seen from past winners - it can help to transform the reputation of the city to people outside of the district, and provide greater investment into the area boosting the economy and creating more jobs. I will continue to do all I can to lobby for Bradford to win this competition."

Henri Murison, Director at The Northern Powerhouse Partnership: “As a Northerner, and a resident of one of Bradford’s network of towns, I know what a positive impact it would have for the place I call home - the nation’s youngest city, and one of its most diverse, to be given this opportunity. After Coventry, I believe firmly the Northern Powerhouse should be securing the 2025 winning city, which would demonstrate the government’s commitment to Levelling Up."

Yorkshire and England cricketer Adil Rashid, who was part of the squad that won the 2019 Cricket World Cup: “When people come together to play sport, or watch it, that shared experience is amazing and it stays with you. It’s the same with cultural events and I am 100 per cent behind the team, proud to put my name to Bradford’s bid for City of Culture in 2025.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Adil Rashid is proud to be behind the bid Adil Rashid is proud to be behind the bid

West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin said: “Being shortlisted for UK City of Culture 2025 is a powerful recognition of Bradford’s ambitious, vibrant, diverse cultural and creative sector. Supporting cultural activities, creativity and the creative sector across West Yorkshire is one of my key priorities as Mayor. I hope being shortlisted will encourage more people to get involved and be an opportunity to show the best of the Bradford district to the rest of the UK and beyond.”

Nigel Wood, Bradford Bulls chairman, said: “Bradford's bid is a landmark bid for the district and if successful, it would represent a major boost for our city. It would allow the full variety, diversity and rich culture of our city to be shared nationally, its proud history and its confident future.

“Bradford Bulls are proud to represent Bradford as much as the Rugby League people of this city are proud to be associated with Bradford Bulls. This can only be a positive for everybody.”

Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor, University of Bradford: "Bradford has a very strong cultural heritage and we are excited to play a role in showcasing this to the world.”

Lee Craven, Director of Bradford Live, said: "Getting onto the final shortlist is a vindication of the quality of the Bradford 2025 bid, and a tribute to the determination already shown to regenerate our great city."

Diana Orzola of Bradford-based theatre company Freedom Studios said: "Bradford is a city of bright things. The bright people of Bradford need a fresh canvas to show off their beautiful cultures - winning City of Culture would let us do that and so much more!"

Kamran Rashid, Chief Executive and co-founder Impact Hub Bradford said: “The UK City of Culture 2025 title is an enormous opportunity for both my home city and the wider district to do something quite extraordinary and show the UK and the rest of the world what Bradford has to offer. As the UK's youngest city and one of the most diverse communities in the whole of the UK 2025 isn't just a chance for us to celebrate our fantastic arts and culture in 2025, it's also the chance to make real changes way beyond the year itself for the long-term benefit of everyone who lives and works here. Bradford's time has come!”

Zulfiqar Ahmed, Director of The Leap: “As the UK’s youngest city and one of the most diverse, the competition is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Bradford to develop an inclusive and dynamic creative programme that helps put this remarkable district on the cultural map.”