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Saturday, 27 December 2014

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Let’s make Cumbria Day an annual event

It is hoped that Cumbria Day – which showcased the county in London – will become an annual event.

Campbell-Savours at Cumbria Day photo
Lord Dale Campbell-Savours at the event

Prime Minister David Cameron was among 100 MPs who attended Cumbria Day in Parliament this week.

The event, which featured a range of food and manufacturers, was organised by Cumbria Tourism, Taste Cumbria and the six Cumbrian MPs. It was organised to celebrate all things Cumbrian.

Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart said: “The turnout was magnificent and that’s a credit to Cumbria. It’s a lot of work and I must thank my team for that and see if we can do it again next year.”

Copeland MP Jamie Reed said: “Next year we have to make it much bigger and showcase our manufacturing and industrial companies and promote the Cumbrian lifestyle.

“We have to do the work ourselves and promote ourselves because no-one is going to do it for us.”

Carlisle MP John Stevenson added: “London won’t come to Cumbria so Cumbria must showcase its products in London.”

Wednesday’s event was attended by a range of MPs, parliamentary interns and assistants and a few guests from Cumbria.

Solway Coast county councillor Tony Markley, who also has responsibility for economic development, said: “The county council is keen to work with all of our MPs and partners on any opportunities to showcase Cumbria on a national and international platform.

“We will certainly be keen to explore how we can expand on this year’s event and use it as an opportunity to showcase Cumbria’s offer – both in the goods and services we produce, and the opportunity for inward investment in sectors such as energy and nuclear, high value engineering, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing.”

More than 20 producers showed off their wares from meats, cheeses, beers and chocolates.

Jane Hasell-McCosh, one of the organiser’s of next month’s Marmalade Festival at Dalemain, took Paddington Bear to Westminster to promote the event.

Paddington shook hands with Mr Cameron when he arrived at Cumbria Day.

David Sharrock, director and general manager of The Cumberland Pencil Museum/Derwent Pencils in Keswick, said: “For us it’s about raising the profile of our company to tell people what’s there and get support to grow tourism. There was a real buzz about Cumbria Day.”

David Little, a site representative from The Lake District Cheese Company in Aspatria, said: “I was very proud to represent the site at Cumbria Day. I’ve worked there for 37 years but the brand is relatively new.

“It’s great to be able to promote the brand and get feedback.”

Ian Stephens, managing director of Cumbria Tourism, said he was “overwhelmed and proud” at how the Cumbrian producers had captured the imagination of the county.

After lunch, Mr Stewart used his question in a packed Commons for Prime Minister’s Questions to invite Mr Cameron to attend Cumbria Day. He accepted, saying in Parliament: “Cumbria is a beautiful part of our country, with so much to offer.

“I have fond memories of the time I have spent there, not least visiting the Butchers Arms in Crosby Ravensworth, a community-owned pub and an amazing example of Big Society in action.”

Later, working his way around the room, Mr Cameron sampled a variety of Cumbrian produce.

He told staff from Cartmel – home of the sticky toffee pudding – that his children were big fans of the dessert and he said they would now be doing their homework with Derwent Pencils.

He said: “It’s great to be here and thanks to everyone from Cumbria for making this day possible.”

Mr Stewart said: ‘The day was an absolute triumph. It was a wonderful opportunity for all MPs to work together on a cross-party basis for a county we all love.

“It has put Cumbria, its products and our beautiful landscape in a much-needed spotlight. And I hope it is the beginning of much more cross-party work.”

Cumbria Tourism chairman Eric Robson described the day as a “tremendous success”.

Following the event, the six MPs formed an Associate Parliamentary Group for Tourism and Business to take forward Cumbria’s priorities in Westminster on a cross-party basis.

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