Durham Cathedral will be transformed to host a prestigious and unique dinner for the first time next September 2018, in partnership with North East England Chamber of Commerce.

The Cathedral, one of Europe’s finest buildings and the Chamber, the North East’s largest business membership organisation, have joined forces to arrange this Annual Dinner.   It will symbolise how two different organisations can work together to create something extraordinary surrounded by nearly a millennium of history.

Taking place on Thursday, 6 September 2018, the event is expected to attract over 500 business leaders from around the North East.  It will replace the two previous Annual Dinners which were traditionally held in Newcastle and Middlesbrough.

Profits from the event will help raise funds for Durham Cathedral’s Foundation 2020, which aims to achieve a £10m target for all-important restoration work to preserve the building’s fabric for future generations.

The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham said: “We are looking forward to welcoming the North East England Chamber of Commerce back to Durham Cathedral.  The Chamber held part of its 200th anniversary celebrations here in 2015 which was a huge success.  We anticipate that the Chamber’s annual Dinner for 2018 will be equally enjoyable and an opportunity to invite the business community into the Cathedral. The Chamber is very generously using the occasion to help raise funds for the Cathedral’s new endowment fund Foundation 2020 – a long-term strategy for meeting the annual conservation costs of running this Grade 1 listed, World Heritage Site.”

James Ramsbotham, chief executive, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “We are delighted to be working with the Chapter of Durham Cathedral on this inaugural regional, Annual Dinner.  It will be an outstanding opportunity for all our members to join together to celebrate our region in a setting which is truly unrivalled, whilst obviously remembering it is still a place of worship.  Durham Cathedral is one of the most iconic and important heritage buildings in the country, not just the North East.  We are extremely proud to be able to hold our event in the heart of it.”

Tickets for the event will be available from mid-January 2018 and tables will be £1,500 each.  Further details and how to apply for them will be on the chamber website.

Gateshead College and Newcastle International Airport, two long-standing Chamber Partner members are sponsoring the dinner.

Nick Jones, chief executive officer, Newcastle International Airport said: “We stand shoulder to shoulder with the Chamber on many topics that affect businesses within the region and we are delighted to be sponsoring the Annual Dinner for the 9th year in a row. The dinner is a great opportunity for the North East business community to get together and celebrate the outstanding work that goes on in our region. Held in the nave of Durham Cathedral, the 2018 Annual Dinner promises to be a unique and unforgettable experience which we’re proud to be a part of.”

Judith Doyle, principal and chief executive of Gateshead College, said: “We are proud of our strong partnership with the North East England Chamber of Commerce and are delighted to sponsor this inaugural dinner at the Cathedral. I can’t think of a better setting in which to celebrate our region whilst supporting the development of one of our greatest assets.”

The Chamber hosted its 200th anniversary celebration within the Cathedral and on Palace Green in 2015 with 800 guests.