Stoke-on-Trent - a city for the future

Published: 27th March 2017

The Bishop of Stafford, the Right Revd Geoff Annas, was a guest contributor to BBC Radio 4's Thought For The Day on Saturday when the Today programme was broadcast live from Stoke-on-Trent.

He spoke about Stoke's vibrancy, friendliness and creativity as it bids to be the UK City of Culture 2021. You can hear his thoughts here, and read the full text, below.

"One of the many good things about Stoke on Trent is being surrounded by some amazing countryside and the spectacular scenery of the Staffordshire Peak District very different from the kind of image many have of this hidden gem.

"People say to me: 'Stoke oh that USED to be the Potteries.' Stoke still is at the centre of the ceramics industry - which is growing as are many other opportunities for business investment.

"The City is undergoing regeneration and with the prospect of all the benefits that being so close to the proposed HS2 stop at Crewe could bring, Stoke is on the threshold of emerging from being squeezed by Birmingham and Manchester into becoming an important Gateway to the North.

"This is a City for the future!

"A vibrant centre for all forms of sport and entertainment - indeed Staffordshire is known as The Creative County - and the problem we are finding with our bid to become the UK City of Culture in 2021 is that there is so much happening we cannot fit it into one document!

"There are challenges as the media highlighted during the recent by - election, but the main strength of this City is the people who live here.

"Those who move away often return and people visiting are frequently overwhelmed by the warmth and helpfulness of those they meet Stoke is a genuinely FRIENDLY City.Whether it is because of all those years working in harmony down the pits or with the pots, or because of the six towns having to learn to live with one another as a single city, there is a great sense of community and a willingness to work together for the good of all.

"This is nothing new.In 1942 the Czech village of Lidice was destroyed by the Nazis.Sir Barnett Stross, a doctor here in Stoke set up a campaign to help bring the village to life once more in direct defiance of the orders of Adolf Hitler that Lidice should die and the people of our City worked together to raise what would now be 1million offering hope to those who had suffered so cruelly and establishing a friendship that is valued to this day.

"Gradually in Stoke the negatives are being outweighed by the positives and Faith Communities here are fully immersed in this process.

"As we reach the mid-point of Lent, Christians continue to prepare for Holy Week and Easter when we remember the New Life or Resurrection of Jesus.There is a sense of expectation and fresh hope as Spring arrives.

"Christians believe that God who brings new life out of death is capable of transforming the lives of individuals, communities, nations and even our fractured world.

"At the end of a week that has seen much sadness and violence, this is a message of hope that we all need to hear."

Page last updated: Monday 27th March 2017 11:02 AM
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