I was thrilled to hear that our town was named as the northern winner of the Best Place to Live award by The Times newspaper.
The annual awards have featured our neighbours in Tynemouth over the years but it is so nice to have been nominated this year and actually win the local title.
The judges praised Whitley Bay for the beautiful coastline we are proud of and all of the regeneration work which continues to take place to improve the area.
Having had my own business in Whitley Bay for almost 7 years I have seen first hand at how the town has turned a corner and is quite deservedly making a mark for itself as somewhere that people want to be. I know there is still lots of work to do in certain quarters, but to be recognised like this means a great deal to me, the Chamber and my business neighbours.
Whitley Bay is special. It is no longer the party capital of the north-east but instead has turned into an independent shopping paradise. Full of indie brands run by passionate people who want the town to succeed. And not only shops - we have micro breweries, coffee shops, restaurants, gyms and even an award winning community cinema.
What sometimes frustrates me are the comments online by people criticising the town by saying things which simply are not true. Perhaps these people haven't been here since Whitley Bay was on its last legs - but that was in the past. I invite those who seem to enjoy complaining about anything good which happens in Whitley Bay, to actually visit the place again to see if they still share that opinion after they have seen first hand what the community are trying to do.
Everyone that I speak to in both a professional and personal capacity only have good things to say about the town - and quite right too! We know that parking can sometimes be a bit rubbish, we could do with a few more bins here and there, and some streets do need a lot of work done on them - but I really do believe that we are getting there. The Whitley Bay of today is a hundred times better than the Whitley Bay of 7 years ago when I took a massive risk in setting up business here. I'm so glad that I did.
Check out the Newcastle Chronicle's coverage of the news here.
Chair, Whitley Bay Chamber of Trade