Plans to celebrate Olympic heroes

The role played by athletes, performers and organisers from the North-east of Scotland in this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games will be celebrated with a major public event later this month.

An open-topped bus tour through the heart of Aberdeen, and a civic reception in an historic Aberdeenshire mansion, are among the plans to celebrate the achievements of the Olympic and Paralympic athletes who have competed in this summer’s games in London, and others who helped make it happen.

The public event, organised in partnership between Aberdeenshire Council and Aberdeen City Council, will take place on Sunday, September 16.

It is being organised to celebrate the involvement of the North-east in all parts of the Games, from the athletes who competed in front of millions to the musicians who helped provide the soundtrack to the historic events.

Organisers are looking for Torchbearers who helped carry the Olympic Flame through the north-east, and for local Games Makers and Games Officials whose voluntary efforts helped make the Games a reality, to come forward and be part of the celebrations.

Gold medal winners Tim Baillie and Katherine Grainger are among the athletes expected to attend.

A long list of athletes with links to the north-east – including silver medal-winning canoeist David Florence and sailor Luke Patience – are all invited to take part.

An open-topped bus, provided by FirstBus, will carry the Olympic and Paralympic competitors from the city’s Castlegate, where a post box has been painted gold in honour of Katherine Grainger, to Westhill where another has been painted gold for Tim Baillie.

The Aberdeen City Youth Brass Band will play at the Castlegate, while a pipe band will lead the open-topped bus down Union Street.

From Westhill they will be transported to Haddo House, near Ellon, where there will be a private civic reception in the main hall of the National Trust for Scotland mansion house.

The music of performers from the north-east of Scotland will be featured during the celebrations next month.

This will include music from percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, who performed in the Olympic Games opening ceremony and Annie Lennox and Alford’s Emeli Sandé, who took part in the closing ceremony.

The Provost of Aberdeenshire, Cllr Jill Webster, said: “This year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in London are already written into modern British history, and we are proud of the role played by the north-east of Scotland in making that happen.

“This is an opportunity to celebrate not just the athletes, but the other performers and those who worked behind the scenes to make it such a special summer for the whole country.

“The arrival of the Olympic flame in June was a chance to welcome the Games to Britain, and I would encourage everyone to come out and be part of our final farewell special north-east celebrations next month.

“I would like to give special thanks to the National Trust for Scotland and FirstBus for their help in making this event happen.”