Lighter and otter

First published in Spectators Notes

A CONSULTANT’S report into last year’s Lumiere festival made for fascinating reading.

The 50-page report by Miller Research was published this week into the operation and economic impact of the festival. It suggested Lumiere had generated £4.3m for the city’s economy, a headline figure which included a notional £2.25m PR value derived from the media coverage of the event, but also a lot of hard cash going through the tills of Durham’s shops and restaurants.

On average, each of the 175,000 visitors spent £36-a-head during their stay.

As Spectator remembers, much was made at the time of crowd control issues, with shrill voices expressing concern over how the throng was marshalled.

However, the extensive survey found that visitors were overwhelmingly positive on all aspects of Lumiere, including the overall experience, the quality of the art and the public transport. The only blip was on crowd control, which 30 per cent of visitors rated as poor. However, that clearly means 70 per cent found it fair or better.

SPEAKING of visitors, a reader contacted Spectator after an unlikely intruder was spotted in her garden.

An otter has been sighted by two different residents in Whitesmocks, in the most recent case rifling through the compost bin. Otters returned to the River Wear at least six years ago, but this furry visitor seems to be far from home, in fact at least half a mile from the riverbanks, uphill and over a busy road.

Spectator would be fascinated to hear of any other sightings.

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