Your Medway – A City in all but name

I reprint here in full the text that is printed in Your Medway (Page 14) today and Kent on Saturday (Page 32) tomorrow:

Medway was one of 25 areas to bid for city status as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations this year.

Even though the bookmakers had us running a close second, at 6 to 1, we were not successful this time, beaten to the title by Chelmsford, Perth and St Asaph.

Whilst this is disappointing news, the City of Medway remains our aspiration – we are a city in all but name with our historic cathedral, four universities and a diverse economy.

Each of the five towns has its own distinct identity under one umbrella – Medway. Its what makes our area unique.

The bid was an excellent opportunity to showcase all that is great about the area – just look at the positive national coverage Medway received for around 5 pence per person – it is helping to establish Medway firmly on the map.

Whilst the vast majority of residents supported the bid, there were a small minority of vocal opponents. Most were not opposed to city status in principle, only disagreed on when and which part of Medway should receive it.

But the Government guidelines were clear in that the application needed to be for the whole local authority area.

We can take pride in the efforts that were made by everyone in Medway including local businesses, newspapers, schools and the community, who have worked tirelessly to promote the area and can taker pride in the knowledge that Medway is a fantastic and safe place to live and work.

We have 28 days of free festivals, the most in the South East, and 2012 is going to be a Year of Celebration with the bi-centenary of Dickens’ birth and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee playing a key part.

This will culminate in a River Festival in June and six beacons being lit across the area.

Medway has a rich heritage and close historic ties with the armed forces, which includes the Royal Engineers who will be celebrating their 200th anniversary in Gillingham this year.

It is also a centre for sporting excellence, with Medway Park now playing host to World champion events and as a pre-Olympic training camp for Senegal, Congo and Chad. In August it will be holding the British Transplant Games.

We can see the regeneration of the area taking shape before our eyes, with the new road infrastructure completed and new housing being developed such as at Victory Quays’.

There are now some 600 companies employing 6000 people on the Medway City Estate alone and we are justifiably proud of the 12,000 students studying in our four Universities.

We have wonderful countryside right on our doorstep which is why the Council is leading the fight against a Thames Estuary Airport.

We have lots to be proud of in Medway; we will not be knocked off track.

We are building a Medway that our children will enjoy and prosper in, let us celebrate Medway and all that we have achieved and continue to achieve, together!

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