A poem that gave so many people hope during the coronavirus lockdown is now inspiring people to visit the county in which it was written.

The Rainbow Children, by Gemma Peacock of Shotton Colliery in County Durham, is part of a new campaign from Visit County Durham aimed at encouraging people to visit Durham following the closure of the county’s tourism industry during the lockdown.

Inspired by a walk through her local countryside in Durham, Gemma wrote the poem to reassure her young children at the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown. After sharing it on her own Facebook page for friends and family to see, it quickly became a social media sensation and went on to be viewed by thousands across the world, and was read out on TV by North East celebrities including Ant and Dec.

As part of the ‘Worth the Wait’ staycation campaign launched by Visit County Durham, which showcases some of the experiences visitors can have across the county that have been ‘worth the wait’ following long weeks of lockdown, Gemma’s heartfelt words are now accompanied by video footage that promotes highlights of a trip to Durham, from the great outdoors and fascinating heritage, to culture, family fun and food and drink, to inspire people to visit the county.

Gemma and her family also making an appearance in the video – https://youtu.be/WjM1lfcHpr0

Gemma Peacock said: “I am honoured that Visit County Durham are using my poem to inspire people to visit. I am very proud of where we live but we do sometimes take it for granted. We have learned to love and appreciate the beauty of our own coast and countryside during lockdown, and it is fantastic that my poem is being used to encourage more people to discover our incredible county.’

“I only expected family and friends to read my poem online when I wrote it in April, but now it has reached thousands and I’m pleased that it has helped people through the lockdown. And I couldn’t be more proud that it is inspiring people to come and visit the beautiful county we love so much.”

Cllr Joy Allen, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for transformation, culture and tourism, said: “Gemma’s poem became a social media sensation and really captured the nation’s mood during lockdown, and the stunning shots it is accompanied by in the video prove County Durham truly is Worth the Wait.

“We know tourism is crucial to getting our economy back on track and to supporting local businesses as we begin to recover from the pandemic, and by attracting people to County Durham this video can help do just that.”

The campaign also features a second video, which brings to life the county’s stunning landscapes with a poem written by Lord Byron, who was married at Seaham Hall in 1815.

The website for the campaign is www.thisisdurham.com/worththewait 

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