Three real stars of the Middlesbrough community are fronting a new poster campaign backing the town’s bid for city status.
Middlesbrough launched its bid for city status in March and is aiming to be named by the Queen as the UK’s newest city next year.
Nathan James, Kevin Mann and Tommy Dunn, were just three of hundreds who sent in messages of support for the city bid.
Now they have been selected as ambassadors to feature on two and a half metre high posters at Middlesbrough Railway Station.
The posters will be at prime sites, donated to the campaign, on the underpass and on platform two.
Nathan James, 29, is a manager for West Middlesbrough Neighbourhood Trust and a Prince’s Trust Young Achiever.
Nathan left home at 15 and became involved in drugs and crime.
After prison he turned his life around and has since worked tirelessly with young people to help them do the same. Nathan received a Prince’s Trust award from Prince Charles last year.
Nathan said about Middlesbrough: “Middlesbrough is a place of opportunity and made me see that no matter what your situation, past or current circumstances, you can achieve whatever you want if you just believe in yourself and your community.
“Middlesbrough believed in me and I believed in Middlesbrough.”
Internet entrepreneur Kevin Mann 28, is founder of Graphic.ly and Managing Director of Audacious, based in Boho One, Middlesbrough.
He has had success on both sides of the Atlantic thanks to his Teesside University education and the help available for businesses in Middlesbrough.
Kevin’s message on the poster reads: “Thanks to the support network, infrastructure, great university and wonderful office spaces, Middlesbrough provided the perfect environment to start my first business.
“Graphic.ly has since raised $4m in US venture capital and has been featured by both Microsoft and Google at major shows.
“So when launching our new venture Audacious, my co-founder and I didn’t think twice about setting up in Middlesbrough again.”
Tommy Dunn, 17, is a student at Middlesbrough College and presenter of the Hip Hop and R’n’B Show for Community Voice FM.
Tommy said: “Middlesbrough is a culturally diverse and multi-ethnic society which values and acknowledges every individual’s achievements.
“With our industrial heritage our area is the very heart of British steel making.
“Our fantastic festivals make us the social capital of Teesside and the surrounding area.”
Councillor Charlie Rooney, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “The posters are a fantastic sight for the visitors and commuters who journey in to Middlesbrough Railway Station.
“The powerful statements from the three ambassadors show they have been able to achieve their dreams through living and working in Middlesbrough.
“It’s now our dream to make Middlesbrough a city to give more young people exciting opportunities in the years ahead.”
Further poster stars will be chosen from 20 young achievers whose messages of support were included in the bid for city status and from messages of support submitted on the lovemiddlesbrough website. They will be put up in the town later in the year.
Graphic designers Twist Design were chosen to design the posters having previously created the city status branding free of charge and local company Xseed Photography was chosen to photograph the poster stars when they left a message of support in favour of the city bid.
David Cooper Director of Xseed Photography which is based in Boho One said: “We can only thank Middlesbrough for helping our small business grow from strength to strength.
“We feel it is important that the potential of Middlesbrough is recognised by making it a city.”