A group of dedicated ‘Northerners’ has unveiled plans for the launch of a new society dedicated to the promotion of northern values and creating a stronger voice on major issues affecting their area.
The North of England Society will initially be led by Neville Chamberlain CBE supported by a group of business owners from the north of England.
Neville is the former chairman of The Northern Way - an earlier collaboration between the three northern regional development agencies: Northwest Development Agency, One NorthEast and Yorkshire Forward.
He said: “As well as sharing a distinct character and a proud heritage, we Northerners are part of a unique industrial, commercial, creative and scientific powerhouse that deserves more effective representation though a unified voice, and that’s what the NES intends to deliver.
“With the Northern Powerhouse, devolution, Brexit and rail investment issues very much in the spotlight, I believe it’s high time to launch something that will give the glorious north a stronger presence on the UK stage and greater influence in national debates and decision-making.”
Chair of the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership and former chair of Northern Foods Lord Chris Haskins welcomed the initiative, stating: “In these uncertain times it is especially important that the North comes together to speak up for itself.”
North of England supporter Lord Melvyn Bragg also backs the move alongside music songwriting legend Peter Waterman who said: “I wouldn’t live anywhere else!”
Emphasising that the NES will neither be a separatist nor party-political movement, Neville added: “The North of England Society will exist only to promote the character and well-being of those who would declare themselves ‘Northerners’, and enhance the major contribution made by the North of England to the success and well-being of the UK.
“We want to encourage Northerners to take pride in their association with the North of England.”
The NES’ definition of ‘Northern England’ is that part of England which sees itself as part of ‘the North” and would generally include those areas from the border with Scotland down to Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Lincolnshire.
“It’s not about hard political and geographical boundaries,” said Neville, “it’s about the sense of identity of local people and their emotional and cultural allegiances.”
Vice chancellor of the University of Chester , Professor Timothy Wheeler, added: “This is a brilliant idea. Now is the right time for this initiative.”
The NES manifesto involves informing members about Northern activities, achievements and opportunities, and promoting the region’s image and interests.
It also seeks to promote excellence and achievement by Northerners in various economic, professional and cultural fields by forming a sister organisation - The North of England Institute - which will, in turn, establish specialist Northern Institutes in specific fields.
Membership of The North of England Society is open to anyone who, by birth, adoption or self-association, embraces the culture and identity of the North of England. Funding of the NES will be through modest membership subscriptions.
For further information and to register interest in joining the organisation, visit www.northofenglandsociety.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org