Royal connections highlighted as city boost becomes reality for Bangor community

Secretary of State Brandon Lewis has predicted a tourism boost for Bangor after it was awarded city status.

The popular north Down resort is one of eight locations to be honoured as part of the Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations.

Mr Lewis said: “Bangor has a strong community focus and so much to offer, including its beautiful coastline, a thriving marina, and a resurgent cultural and arts sector that is drawing people from across Northern Ireland and beyond for events.

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“I’m delighted that Bangor has secured city status, and this well-deserved honour will provide a further boost to tourism and to the economy, creating new opportunities for the community and recognition for the area.”

Bangor has been recognised as a city as part of the Queen's platinum jubilee celebrations. Photos : Presseye/Stephen Hamilton

Bangor takes its place alongside seven other successful bids including Stanley as the Falkland Islands becomes the first ever Overseas Territory to win a competition for city status

Meanwhile, Douglas on the Isle Man becomes the first Crown Dependency to win civic honours. Also celebrating are: Colchester, Doncaster and Milton Keynes, England; Dunfermline, Scotland and Wrexham, Wales

The competition to receive civic honours was last run 10 years ago to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee.

The Platinum Jubilee Civic Honours Competition required applicants to demonstrate how their unique communities and distinct local identity meant they deserved to be awarded city status. They were also required to highlight their royal associations and cultural heritage.

Bangor is well-known for its maritime attractions.

Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Bangor bid documented royal connections ranging from a coronation celebration tour in 1903 by King Edward V11 to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visiting Bangor Market last year.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh made two celebrated visits. In 1961 the royal couple visited Bangor Castle and then the Queen had lunch at the Royal Ulster Yacht Club whilst the Duke raced in the regatta. They returned to Bangor in 2009 and visited the Coastguard Agency. The royal couple had lunch at the Royal Ulster Yacht Club, where they met councillors from North Down Council.

Congratulating the successful bid areas, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay said: “I am delighted that a record number of locations have been awarded the prestigious city status as part of Her Majesty the Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations. What was clear to me during the process of assessing each application was the pride that people felt for their communities, local cultural heritage and the royal family.

“As we celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s colossal contribution to society, I am thrilled that we are able to recognise some of the many places that make Britain great. I look forward to the world coming together to show our pride and gratitude to Queen Elizabeth II on the Jubilee weekend.”

City status can provide a boost for local communities.

The competition for city status has taken place in each of the last three jubilee years with previous winners including Chelmsford, Lisburn and Newport.

Winning city status can provide a boost to local communities and open up new opportunities for people who live there, as is the case with previous winners Perth and Preston where residents have described how their success contributed to increased national and global standing, putting them on the international map as a place to do business.

Research shows that Perth, which was granted city status in 2012 as part of the Queen’s diamond jubilee, has reaped the full benefits with the local economy expanding by 12% in the decade it was granted city status.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “City status is a huge accolade and I congratulate our eight brilliant winners. This competition showcases the best of Britain and the Overseas Territories and will act as a lasting legacy of Her Majesty the Queen’s platinum jubilee.”

The winner of the competition for Lord Mayoralty status was also announced today with Southampton winning the coveted award. The city’s newfound status entitles the first citizen to be known as the Lord Mayor and has been granted to three cities as part of previous jubilee civic honours competitions: Chester (1992), Exeter (2002) and Armagh (2012).

Applications were opened last year and almost 40 locations from across the UK and beyond put forward their bid to become a city. The applications, which were asked to follow a clear structure were subsequently evaluated by a panel of experts and Cabinet Office ministers, before a recommendation was put to the Queen.

‘Letters Patent’ will now be prepared which will confer each of the awards formally and will be presented to winners later in the year.

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Bangor welcomes ‘extra special’ city status honour for Queen’s platinum jubilee