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Coventry – a quietly brilliant friend

21 March 2017

Everyone has one. The quietly brilliant friend. They are never the loudest at the party, never the one who shouts about their achievements on Facebook and always the one who puts you (and everyone else you know) first. If Coventry was a person it would be your quietly brilliant friend.

When I first moved to Coventry in 2011, I liked it but it was over the next four years that I grew to love it. Coventry has a uniqueness born out of its history and yet it is so much more than its history. It is a city made up of a big ball of energy. Youthful energy comes from its young people and student communities. Vibrancy, perspective and respect from its diverse population. Innovation, reinvention and progression from its industries.  Dynamism, storytelling and passion from its artistic makers. Let’s not forget it is also a city of peace and reconciliation, values that should be held aloft in current times. However for all its strengths Coventry and its people often understate its true value, shy away from showcasing it and do not claim Coventry’s rightful place on the national and international stage, leaving that for other flashier cities.

Coventry, like a true friend, did a lot for me and other young people. So I would like to encourage Coventry to show off a little more, shout about its many achievements, put its best foot forward and invite the world round in 2021 to show what this underrated City in the West Midlands has to offer in culture, spirit and attitude.

For four years I immersed myself in this cultural city, strengthened and uplifted by its variety and warmth of community. When I moved away in 2015, due to finances, I felt as if I’d left a party that was still in full swing, one that I hope to return to. I may not be a native Coventrian but I’d like to hope I’m an adopted one.

And that’s why when Coventry wins City of Culture 2021, I will be at the front of the crowd cheering with everybody else.

By Simon Overington-Hickford

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