North East mayor candidate wants more Sam Fenders amid pledge to develop creative industries

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Labour's candidate for North East Mayor spoke at length about how important people like Sam Fender are to the region's economy.

Labour's candidate for North East Mayor has promised to develop the region's creative industries and believes nurturing more people like Sam Fender could be an economic lifeline.

Kim McGuinness officially launched her campaign to become the inaugural North East Mayor today with the help of Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner.

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Angela Rayner travelled to the North East to launch Labour and Kim McGuinness' campaign to become the first North East Mayor.Angela Rayner travelled to the North East to launch Labour and Kim McGuinness' campaign to become the first North East Mayor.
Angela Rayner travelled to the North East to launch Labour and Kim McGuinness' campaign to become the first North East Mayor. | Evie Lake

As well as committing to combating poverty, creating more green jobs and building better social housing, the current Police and Crime Commissioner spoke at length about the North East's cultural scene, which she believes, with a bit of development holds the key to creating an inclusive region- citing North Shields' own Sam Fender as one of the region's 'leading cultural lights.'

"I think our creative industries are the missing part for our plans for an inclusive North East," said the Labour candidate. "And this is the bit I get to talk about Sam Fender.

Modern day rockstar Sam Fender, from North Shields, remained in his hometown during his education, studying at Whitley Bay High School. At the school’s sixth form, he studied Theatre and English Language at A Level, and spent a lot of time in the music department.Modern day rockstar Sam Fender, from North Shields, remained in his hometown during his education, studying at Whitley Bay High School. At the school’s sixth form, he studied Theatre and English Language at A Level, and spent a lot of time in the music department.
Modern day rockstar Sam Fender, from North Shields, remained in his hometown during his education, studying at Whitley Bay High School. At the school’s sixth form, he studied Theatre and English Language at A Level, and spent a lot of time in the music department. | Getty Images

"He faced hardship as a child, he's talked about that, but now he's one of our leading cultural lights. I'm not going to say that everybody should grow up with an album or two in mind but we do certainly need more of them.

"[Sam] is actually becoming a bit rare these days. Because just like wealth and political agency, in the UK cultural power is concentrated in London and it doesn't have to be that way. The North East of England has a thriving arts scene, but it needs turbocharging. Not just for the prestige but because of a vitalised cultural scene, arts and sports are also an economic lifeline for those that stay here and those that choose to live here."

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McGuinness says she wants to invest in people, to develop more people like the BRIT-winner and believes it's a key growth area for the North by investing in the training and career progression in the creative industries.

"Music can do for our region what comedy did for Edinburgh. The signs of our cultural potential are there. Talent is classless and the people here have it and they have the pride to shape our future. They shouldn't have to go to London to do it" said McGuinness.

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