After the newspaper launched its New Horizons campaign to try to encourage the area’s talented state school children to apply for top universities, Mr Blair announced Labour would make the issue a national priority.
The News and Star is offering Cumbrian sixth-formers the chance to take expenses-paid places at universities – such as Oxford and Cambridge – as part of the campaign being run in conjunction with Sutton Trust education charity .
Celebrities from the area have also pledged to back the campaign to encourage young people with ordinary backgrounds to apply for places at top universities.
Cumbrian peer, writer, TV and radio presenter Melvyn Bragg, whose parents still own a pub in the area, said: “There is a great deal of talent that goes to waste.
“I come from a background with no history of going to university so I can identify with this campaign.”
The campaign has also been the first time the Sutton Trust has worked with a regional newspaper to offer access to summer schools as it normally works with national newspapers.
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