Final preparations are underway for the celebration of the athletes, volunteers and organisers from the north-east of Scotland who helped make this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games such a success.
Three gold medal winners are among the athletes confirmed to attend the celebrations, organised by Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council, on Sunday, September 16.
Tim Baillie, Katherine Grainger and Neil Fachie will board an open-topped bus which will parade through the heart of Aberdeen, visiting the post boxes painted gold in their honour. They are expected to be joined by swimmer Hannah Miley, shooter Jennifer McIntosh and Paralympic cyclist Lora Turnham.
The bus, which will parade down Union Street from 11am until 11.30am, will be led by the Portlethen & District Pipe Band, and be followed by dozens of Torchbearers, Games Makers and other volunteers.
From there, the athletes, volunteers and Torchbearers will join other guests for a civic reception at Haddo House near Ellon. While the reception is private, the house and grounds will remain open and members of the public can access the property and watch the athletes arrive.
Following a private breakfast reception at the Town House in Aberdeen, the public event will begin at the Castlegate where people will have a chance to see the athletes and volunteers and take photos, as they gather at the gold post box of Katherine Grainger at 10.30am.
The athletes will board the open-topped bus for the parade, which begins at 11am and will detour round Golden Square at about 11.10am to the gold post box which recognises the achievement of Paralympic cyclist Neil Fachie.
The parade will end at the top of Union Street at 11.30am, and the bus will make its way at normal speed to Westhill, for the next leg of the tour, at Tim Baillie’s gold post box on Westhill Drive.
After spending half an hour meeting the public and having their pictures taken, the athletes will board a second coach to be transferred to Haddo House for 1.15pm, where they will have half an hour to meet visitors and have pictures taken, before the private reception begins. A series of road closures will be in place from 10am until noon on Sunday to accommodate the parade in the city. They are as follows:
King Street will be closed from the East/West North Street junction to Castle Street;
Castle Street and Union Street, South Silver Street and Golden Square will be closed;
Albyn Place will be shut from the Union Street/Holburn Street junction to Albyn Grove.
Union Terrace and Bridge Street will be closed briefly while the parade passes.
Westhill Drive, in Westhill, will also be closed to vehicles from 11am until about 1pm, between Old Skene Road and Hay’s Way. Parking restrictions will be in place on that stretch of road from the previous evening.
The Provost of Aberdeenshire, Councillor Jill Webster, said: “I would urge the residents of Aberdeen City and Shire to come out and celebrate the hard work which has gone into making this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games such a huge success.
“We were delighted to see such a huge turnout when the Olympic Torch Relay reached our area, and I hope the returning athletes and volunteers receive the same reception from our residents.”
Lord Provost of Aberdeen, Councillor George Adam, said: “Everyone in the north-east is immensely proud of all of our athletes who gave their all in the Olympics and Paralympics, regardless of whether or not they won a medal, and equally proud of the area’s Torchbearers, volunteers and Games Makers. It is fitting that their hard work and achievements are properly celebrated and I think the parade is a fitting tribute to everyone involved.
“I look forward to welcoming them on Sunday and hope that the people of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire will turn out to give them the heroes’ welcome they so richly deserve.”