Proud Steel City now hoping to win national role as magnet for the arts

YORKSHIRE'S Steel City could become the UK's first City of Culture having made it onto a nationwide shortlist of four.

Sheffield will now make a final pitch to win the title for 2013 which could help to attract thousands of visitors and even see the city hosting events such as the Turner Prize and the Brit Awards.

It will compete against Birmingham, Norwich and Derry for the title but there was bad news for Barnsley and Hull which were among those that missed out.

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Sheffield City Council leader Paul Scriven said: "To be shortlisted to the final four just underlines the strength of our bid and Sheffield's future commitment to the arts and culture. This is a proud day for Sheffield and Sheffielders."

Sheffield-born actor Sean Bean said: "I am delighted to support Sheffield's bid to become the first UK City of Culture in 2013. Sheffield boasts an impressive array of cultural facilities, events and celebrations and is renowned for its diverse festivals."

An independent panel will now consider final bids from the four shortlisted cities before making a final recommendation to the Government in the summer.

Culture Minister Margaret Hodge said: "Huge congratulations to the four cities in the final running for the 2013 UK City of Culture. It's a testament to their hard work – and dedication to culture – that they've come so far in what has proven to be a very tough competition."

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The City of Culture idea stems from Liverpool's successful year as European Capital of Culture.

Officials behind the Hull bid said they would still strive to bring events to the area and would adopt a cultural theme.