Virgin CarolineCHALLENGER BANK Virgin Money will be a key supporter of a year-long celebration of everything that is great about regional business.

Headquartered in Gosforth, the bank has signed up as Patron for the 200th anniversary of the North East Chamber of Commerce.

Virgin Money, one of the top 10 largest companies in the region, will be a key supporter of NECC’s landmark year celebrations throughout 2015, further cementing the company’s commitment to business in our region.

NECC is celebrating two centuries of North East business with colleagues, members and the region as a whole by delivering an exciting programme of events and activities showcasing regional innovation, highlighting North East success, encouraging businesses to get involved and celebrating all that is great about business in our region.

Caroline Marsh, Culture Director of Virgin Money, said: “We are proud to be long-standing members of the North East Chamber of Commerce and among the first five businesses to sign-up with NECC to the Chamber’s Partners group. Supporting NECC200 not only demonstrates how important we feel a united business voice is for the North East, it also provides regional businesses with the opportunity to showcase everything that we do well.

“Virgin Money is incredibly proud to have a large part of its business with its roots in North East England. We know that a healthy regional economy is not only good for our business, it’s good for all business and, just like the Chamber, we want to help the region be a success, attract investment and create skilled jobs.

“We have a strong relationship with NECC and it made perfect sense to sign-up as Patron in this milestone year. The region is stronger when we work together and the Chamber is and always has been fantastic at providing a collective voice for the North East.”

As an NECC200 Patron, Virgin Money will support the year-long celebration, which began on January 5, 2015, the exact date the Chamber was officially founded.

Caroline Marsh added: “Since Virgin Money completed its acquisition of Northern Rock plc in January 2012, it has transformed and revitalised the business, created 450 jobs and built a platform for future growth.”

“We are proud of what Virgin Money has achieved and we are delighted to help NECC200 highlight more companies in the region who, like ourselves, are enjoying growth and success.”

Among the events planned for NECC’s 200th Anniversary is an NECC film, Gala Dinner, archive exhibitions, world record attempt, link-ups with chambers from around the world and many more initiatives that will all be announced throughout 2015.

NECC President, David Laws, said: “In 2012, Virgin Money acquired a loss-making regional business, secured around 2,000 jobs and has very quickly turned it around to become a profitable, growing business once again. I am delighted that the organisation has agreed to back our milestone celebrations.

“The Patrons are the driving force behind our year of celebration. Working alongside these groundbreaking businesses and organisations to promote everything that is good about our region is a fantastic opportunity and one that we are incredibly grateful for.

“For two centuries, North East businesses have found a collective voice by working alongside their chamber of commerce. The 200th Anniversary not only provides us with a platform to drive home the importance of speaking with a united regional voice, it is also an opportunity to use that voice to shout about the opportunities, attractions and businesses that make the North East a great place to live, visit and do business.”