A new campaign to showcase everything great about County Durham launches this week.

The #HelpDurhamShine initiative will profile all that’s great about the county – and members of the public are being asked to lend their support

Celebrating Durham aims to spread the word locally, regionally and nationally about everything Durham has to offer – from its stunning landscapes to its rich culture, thriving business sector and welcoming communities.

And Durham County Council, which has launched the initiative alongside partners including Visit County Durham and Kynren, is asking people who live, work and visit the county to get on board by shouting about what they love about Durham.

Cllr Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council, said: “Durham really does have so much to offer – and we want to make sure everyone knows.

“Our people, places, communities, award-winning partnerships, cutting-edge businesses, colourful culture, rich heritage and innovation make us stand out from the crowd.

“Celebrating Durham will showcase all of these attitudes, assets and achievements.

“We’re sending out a clear message to people around the region, the country and even further afield – Durham is a vibrant, thriving and exciting place where there’s a warm welcome for everyone.”

The campaign is being backed by a number of high profile Durham-born and based public figures, including opera star Sir Thomas Allen, who has been Chancellor of Durham University since 2011.

Born in Seaham Harbour, Sir Thomas has achieved worldwide fame, singing in no less than 50 roles at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. According to playwright Lee Hall, Sir Thomas’ remarkable life story was the inspiration for Hall’s hit film Billy Elliott.

But despite his success, Sir Thomas has maintained strong links to Durham, holding key roles with Durham University Choral Society and Durham Cathedral Choir Association.

He said: “Durham is a county with such wonderful history and legend, and the most charming and friendly people.

“Durham University is a world top 100 university and it buzzes with life and energy. To see some of the research that takes place here is mind-expanding.

“Music has been a life full of interest, cast with remarkable people and astonishing venues. But it is all measured against the standard set by Durham, and Durham wins every time.”

Anne-Isabelle Daulon, CEO of Eleven Arches, which produces Kynren, said: “The magic ingredient in Kynren’s success is our army of Archers who make up our 1,500 strong team of cast and crew.  It is their energy, enthusiasm and dynamism that has enabled Kynren to go from an ambitious concept to a reality which has drawn international acclaim.

“We thoroughly endorse Durham County Council’s #HelpDurhamShine! Campaign which is a celebration of everything that is magical and remarkable about our wonderful county.”

Members of the public are being asked to add their voices and support to the campaign by tweeting @DurhamCouncil and using the hashtag #HelpDurhamShine to highlight what they love about the county.

And the council will be awarding a £400 visitor pass to one lucky Twitter user whose message is chosen at random.

For more information about the campaign and the competition, visit www.durham.gov.uk/placeoflight