• Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

North East Connected

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NGI’s Director of Major Events, Carol Bell, recognised in Birthday Honours list

Carol Bell, Director, Major Events and Festivals at place-marketing agency, NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI), has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours with an OBE.

The award acknowledges Carol’s significant contribution to the bidding for, and delivery of, the Great Exhibition of the North, as well as her broader role in the region’s arts scene over many years.

John Marshall, Chair, NGI, said: “Carol’s recognition with an OBE is well-deserved and we are all absolutely delighted for her.

“Not only did Carol manage the delivery of perhaps the most significant event in NGI’s history, she also played a pivotal role in bringing the Great Exhibition of the North to the region in the first place, which was no mean feat!”

Sarah Stewart OBE, Chief Executive, NGI, added: “We’re really thrilled for Carol. Her hard work and dedication over many years has been outstanding. She’s played a huge role in transforming the region’s cultural landscape and its profile both nationally and internationally during her time with NGI, as well as in her previous role at Northern Rock Foundation, which supported many of the region’s cultural gems.

“As an individual, Carol’s work is often very much behind-the-scenes, but I can say with great confidence that she’s one of the region’s brightest stars.”

Carol has led the events team at NGI for over a decade, delivering over 100 events and festivals, reaching and engaging many hundreds of thousands of visitors as well as local residents.

Most recently, she was responsible for the development and delivery of the overall vision of Great Exhibition of the North, an 80-day event which took place across NewcastleGateshead and the North of England in 2018. Great Exhibition showcased the North of England’s strengths in Art, Design and Innovation which involved tens of thousands of contributors and engaged an audience of 3.8m visitors.

This year, she collaborated with many national and regional sporting bodies on the development and delivery of the European Cup Rugby Finals in Newcastle and is leading the team currently overseeing the development and delivery of the World Transplant Games, which are being held in the UK in August.

Carol said: “Obviously, it’s such a huge honour to be recognised with an OBE and I am absolutely bowled over with the news!

“I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to study at university and to be able to forge a career in the arts, which has been my passion from such a young age.

“Additionally, I’ve had the privilege to work with many talented and creative individuals and organisations over the years and without them, our amazing projects could never have been brought to life.

“The Great Exhibition of the North was certainly the most challenging, but it was also the most rewarding, and demonstrated the strength of partnership working across the region and beyond.”

Creative Producer of the Great Exhibition, Maria Bota, has also been recognised. John Marshall added: “We’re absolutely thrilled that Maria has also been recognised for her significant contribution. She embraced the challenge of curating an engaging and impactful programme that would come under the national and international spotlight. We’re hugely proud of Maria, Carol and everyone who was involved in delivering such a major event.”