Well known TV presenter and charity patron Gabby Logan MBE has been announced as the new Chair for LEEDS 2023, a position that will see the Leeds born broadcaster add her voice to the year-long cultural celebrations. Logan is joined by former Leader of Leeds City Council, Baroness Blake of Leeds who has become a Patron.
Logan will take over from acting Chair Frank Finlay (Professor of German at the University of Leeds) in January, as the team prepare to begin a year-long countdown to 2023.
Born and raised in Leeds, Logan is often in the city she calls home to visit family. A regular on tv and radio since 1992, Logan has been a well-respected sports presenter on Sky Sports, BBC Sport and most recently, Amazon Prime, also covering international events including the Olympics, World Cup and Commonwealth Games. In addition, Logan is a prolific writer and is coming to the end of the fourth season of her podcast ‘The Mid-Point’, as well as being a committed advocate for women in sport, for which she was recently awarded an MBE.
“I am thrilled to be taking this role at LEEDS 2023” says Logan, “It’s a really exciting time to be getting involved as we start to see how the full year of events will take shape. I’m passionate about the city and its people so am particularly looking forward to seeing how we can work with all the communities of Leeds. There is such a rich and diverse population in the city which I’ve seen change over the years and bringing them all together for 2023, and beyond, will be an incredible experience.”
Baroness Blake of Leeds has been a supporter of LEEDS 2023 since the original thwarted bid to become a European Capital of Culture. The first ever female leader of Leeds City Council, she held the portfolio for the Economy and Culture and was deputy chair of the former LEEDS 2023 steering group. Baroness Blake was leader from 2015 until February 2021, when she stepped down after she was awarded a Life Peerage. She is now Frontbench Spokesperson for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in the House of Lords and was awarded a CBE in 2017 in recognition of her service to local government.
Kully Thiarai, CEO and Creative Director for LEEDS 2023, commented: “I’d like to thank Frank Finlay for his time as acting Chair. Frank has been a key part of the team this year, as we worked hard to develop what LEEDS 2023 will bring to the city and region, I’m pleased he won’t be far away as he remains one of our much-valued members of the board. It’s a great privilege for us to have Gabby as our new Chair and Baroness Blake join us a patron, continuing her commitment to culture in the City. They will both bring their own extensive skills, passion and knowledge to support the LEEDS 2023 team and help us deliver a transformative and landmark year of culture.”
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for economy, culture and sport, said: “Gabby Logan has always been a fantastic ambassador and advocate for Leeds and her knowledge, experience and voice will be huge assets to this landmark celebration of everything that makes culture and the arts in the city so special.
“Likewise, I know that Baroness Blake will bring her familiar passion and enthusiasm for Leeds and its communities to this new and exciting role.
“There is a real sense of momentum around Leeds 2023 now and a belief that the city is poised and prepared to showcase itself to the world like never before. I look forward to seeing the programme continue to grow as excitement builds towards what will be a unique year for Leeds.”
For further information or images please contact Anys at Anita Morris Associates on 01943 603311 / Anys@Anitamorrisassociates.co.uk
Notes to editors:
LEEDS 2023’s ambition is to deliver a transformational year of creative experiences connecting and benefiting people now and into the future. The planned programme will celebrate and transform the City’s identity locally, nationally and internationally – creating a lasting legacy of economic and social impact. LEEDS 2023 is run by the Leeds Culture Trust, an independent charity set up in 2019 by Leeds City Council as part of its Culture Strategy and as a response to the cancellation of the UK’s participation in the European Capital of Culture competition. Leeds City Council recognises in a number of its key strategies the difference culture and creativity can make to a city and its citizens, and is the principal funder of LEEDS 2023. www.leeds2023.co.uk
Gabby was born in Leeds and spent most of her formative and schooling years there. Her working life has taken her away from the area but as all of her family are still in the city she is regularly home. Gabby was also the Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University for five years until two years ago.
Dedicated and professional with a fantastic sense of humour, Gabby is one of the UK’s leading broadcasters and has recently been recognised with an MBE. The honour is for services to sports broadcast and promoting women in sport. A former international gymnast, Gabby began her broadcasting career in radio in 1992 and joined Sky Sports in 1996 where she quickly established herself as one of their key presenters. In 2004 Gabby hosted Sport Relief for the BBC before joining the corporation in 2007.
While at the BBC Gabby has presented the Final Score, Inside Sport, Invictus Games, MOTD Six Nations, The Olympic Journey, The One Show, Inspire: The Premier League Show, The World Swimming Championships and Women’s Football, making her one of the network’s most integral faces. She was also a key member of the BBC’s presenting team for the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, 2014 Brazil World Cup, 2018 Russia World Cup and the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
She has hosted a number of TV shows including ‘Back of the Net’ the weekly premiere league show on Amazon Prime alongside Peter Crouch and John Bishop and ‘Live with Gabby’ on Channel 5. In 2013 Gabby presented the celebrity diving show Splash! on ITV with Vernon Kay and Tom Daley. That year also saw her presenting Sport Relief from the Olympic Park as well as hosting the BBC’s first ever Sports Prom. Gabby now also a regular presenter for Amazon prime video’s sport fixtures. A prolific writer, she’s been a columnist for The Times and has previously written for The Independent, The Guardian, Glamour and Stylist Magazine and more recently has entered the ever growing podcast world, launching her chart topping series ‘The Mid point’.
Currently the President of MDUK and a patron of the Disabilities Trust, Prince’s Trust and Great Ormond Street.