This weekend Bishop Auckland celebrates the re-opening of Auckland Castle.

Helen will be joining in with the community day and is really looking forward to seeing the Zurbaran paintings again.

In 2010, Helen received a mysterious brown envelope containing leaked documents relating to the planned sale of the paintings.

She raised the alarm with the Northern Echo and the campaign to save the Zurbarans began. Lots of people got involved, and the team gathered over 3000 signatures on a public petition.

Helen fought hard to generate publicity for the campaign. She led a debate in the House of Commons, presented the petition, and raised the issue on at least a dozen occasions. She knocked on the door of the Archbishop of Canterbury and met with the director of the British Museum to see how the paintings could be kept in their Bishop Auckland home.

The campaign was a success, and drew the attention of Jonathan Ruffer who bought the paintings – and Auckland Castle!

Today, the Auckland Project is doing amazing things in Bishop Auckland, with the help of their dedicated volunteers.

The Castle is now open for visitors, along with the Mining Art Gallery, and Auckland Tower. The Spanish Gallery, Walled Garden, and Faith Museum will be next on the horizon.

This is a moment of genuine regeneration for Bishop Auckland.

Bishop Auckland is a destination in the making
Bishop Auckland is a destination in the making
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