Business leaders were joined by a government minister for the official launch of the new North Devon Marketing Bureau. The bureau has been re-founded as a way for the public sector to fund national advertising for the area, in the face of government funding cuts to North Devon+ which threatened to leave local businesses without a marketing campaign. And it was officially launched at a reception at Barnstaple Square on Friday, which saw several key business owners coming together to watch Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions Mark Harper cut the ribbon. There was another attention-grabbing guest at the launch, too a 45-foot lorry with the slogan Id rather be in North Devon written on its side. The Evans Transport lorry went on tour this morning, visiting Ilfracombe, Woolacombe, Barnstaple and Bideford. Interim bureau chairman Trevor Stanbury, who was instrumental in forming the new co-operative of more than 230 businesses, hailed it as a fantastic day. Today is a celebration of the private sector getting its act together and a chance to say thank you to some of the people that have made this possible, he said. I cant say how proud I am to live in North Devon and how proud I am of the 236 businesses who have bought into the vision. Im absolutely thrilled to bits that in just five months weve raised £107,000 in pledges to support the bureau for three years. Among the businesses to make a pledge is Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park. Park director Dawn Gilbert called on more businesses in the area to follow suit. I think everyone should put their hands in their pockets and even now we need more people to get involved, she said. It gives us in North Devon a great advantage over other parts of the country where funding has also been withdrawn and they wont be able to market this year. Without Trevors enthusiasm, this wouldnt have happened. Mr Harper, who told the Gazette that his favourite flavour of crisps is salt and vinegar, said: The set-up will keep the bureau really focussed on what members think are important to their businesses. Its a great achievement and I think its something which other areas might want to copy.