I came to the North East in 1967 to study at Newcastle University where I met my wife, Mary. After graduating, we spent most of the 1970s teaching in West Africa before returning in 1980 to settle in Lanchester, Durham, where we have lived ever since.
The North East is the perfect combination of people and place. It is rich in history and tradition and, despite the economic hardship of recent years, North Easterners know how to be friendly and funny in a non-intrusive way as well as optimistic about the future. Urban areas have plenty of facilities for business, sport and leisure, whereas countryside and coastal areas are very beautiful and very easy to access.
In my opinion no other region in UK so spectacularly outperforms the perceptions of outsiders.
My favourite area is Northumberland because of its variety of natural landscapes including the stunning coastline from Warkworth to Holy Island and the remote beauty of the national park around Kielder, Cheviot and the Border Ridge.
I like to spend quality leisure time at Newcastle Gateshead Quayside because of the riverside views and the ornate buildings, the Millennium bridge, the bars and restaurants and the artistic Ouseburn Quarter.
My favourite place to eat in the North East is the Pavilion Cantonese restaurant in Iveston. It has such a welcoming and comfortable environment as well as serving up good food. It also holds very happy memories for me and my family.
I love visiting the Farne Islands off the coast of Northumberland because of its remarkable range of wildlife including one of the largest colonies of grey seals in Europe and countless species of sea birds. It also happens to be one of the UK’s top scuba diving locations.
The visitor attraction the North East should be proudest of Durham Cathedral because of its architectural magnificence and superbly scenic setting above the river and adjacent to Palace Green and the Castle.
Away from the office, I like to conduct business at Wynyard Hall because of its combination of attractive surroundings, good facilities and catering, ease of access and position in the centre of the North East region.
The best corporate facilities in the region is at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead. It is perfectly set up for large events, with excellent conference facilities, car parking, catering space, residential and function rooms as well as being close to transport facilities.
The best view in the North East is from the summit of Roseberry Topping (Cleveland’s most famous hill) – on a sunny day in spring.
What makes the North East is that it still remains a unique and distinctive region geographically, historically and industrially – more cohesive than other UK regions but at the same time retaining fascinating diversity at a local level.