THE Tyne Valley economy is in line for another multi-million pound boost when golf fans return to the region next year.

After 70,000 fans headed to Close House in 2017, Sunday’s announcement that elite European Tour event, the Betfred British Masters, will return to the Heddon-on-the-Wall venue in 2020 has caused a stir across the district.

Close House owner Graham Wylie was approached by the tour to host the event between July 30 and August 2 next year, with former number one golfer Lee Westwood – Close House’s attached touring professional – expected to again pull in an elite field of golf stars.

Mr Wylie said: “We are expecting 70,000 spectators and I guess 25 per cent will come from outside the area, and they will stay overnight so food, drink and accommodation providers will benefit.

“Another benefit will be promoting the North-East.

“The TV coverage in 2017 was absolutely amazing and it showcased the whole of the region, and there were great views of the Tyne Valley, Newcastle and Hadrian’s Wall.”

The news has excited businesses in Heddon, with owner of Three Tuns, Phil Doyle, eagerly anticipating its return.

He said: “It was really good for the area last time, especially with us being the first pub in the village. The atmosphere was great and we hope we get the same crowds.”

Billy Waddell, owner of Dingle Dell cafe, said: “There was undoubtedly an upturn in the economy as that amount of footfall comes with a fair degree of extra expenditure.”

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