BLAZE OF COLOUR SPARKS OFF THE YEAR OF THE LIGHT
On February 1, 2011, exactly two hundred years after Arbroath’s horizon was lit up by the first beam of light from the Bell Rock Lighthouse, the town reciprocated by lighting up the sky with a spectacular fireworks display.
The fireworks, which were accompanied by music, launched the Year of the Light, the town’s celebrations of the bicentenary of the Bell Rock Lighthouse and were voted a great success by the 5,000-strong crowd. “The best fireworks display I’ve ever seen,” said Sharon Cummings from Arbroath. “The fireworks were fantastic and the fact that they were choreographed to music made the evening even more memorable.”
Louise Milne from Dundee agreed. “So much work must have gone into this display, which was definitely the most impressive event I’ve been to in Arbroath for a long time,” said Louise.
Pastor Gary Carter of Arbroath Life Church was equally impressed. “The fireworks were incredible,” said Pastor Carter, who is Canadian but now lives in Arbroath. “We’ve been to some of the finest fireworks displays in the world and this was right up there with the very best of them. It was certainly a wonderful tribute to the Bell Rock Lighthouse, the men who constructed it and the lightkeepers who worked on it.”
Taxi driver John Swankie of JB Taxis found that the fireworks resulted in a welcome boost to business. “Tuesday is normally quiet but we were kept busy all evening,” said John. “My father-in-law was a lightkeeper on the Bell Rock during the 1960s so it was wonderful that there was such a great turn out for the Year of the Light Fireworks.”
Before the fireworks began, Lord Southesk, Patron of the Year of the Light, thanked the many people involved in organising Arbroath’s celebrations of the bicentenary of the Bell Rock Lighthouse. “Members of the Year of the Light Steering Committee have devoted two years of planning and hard work to ensuring 2011 is a special year for Arbroath and they should be thanked and congratulated for their sterling efforts,” said Lord Southesk.
“I would also like to thank JD Wetherspoon for coming on board as headline sponsor of the Year of the Light, all our other sponsors and everyone involved in the many Year of the Light events which will be happening in and around Arbroath throughout 2011, ensuring the Year of the Light is as bright as it possibly can be.”
Howard Cargill, the member of the Year of the Light Steering Committee responsible for the fireworks display, added that thanks should also go to 21cc Fireworks and A&J Scaffolding, as both companies had played a vital part in the success of the launch event. “We’d also like to thank Acousta and Speedy Hire (Scotland) Ltd for their support, as well as Tayside Police; Tayside Contracts; Angus Council’s Parks, Waste Management and Emergency Planning departments; and all the local companies who provided help in various ways.
“Thanks also go to Arbroath Football Club, Arbroath Lifeboat and Bruce Road Community Flat for providing stewards and, of course, thanks to the First Aiders,” continued Howard. “Finally, we’d like to thank Arbroath RBLS Pipe Band for the rousing welcome they gave to onlookers as they arrived at Inchcape Park for the Year of the Light Fireworks Display.”
Janet Russell of Arbroath and Area Local Community Planning Team, who is the project co-ordinator for the Year of the Light Steering Committee, was delighted by the success of the Year of the Light Fireworks Display. “This just goes to show what a community can do,” said Janet. “The people of Arbroath wanted to celebrate the bicentenary of ‘their’ lighthouse so local businesses, groups and organisations have worked together to plan the exciting programme of Year of the Light events which will hopefully also encourage many more people to visit Arbroath.”
The next event on the Year of the Light programme is the RSCDS Year of the Light Dance on February 18 and then, on March 10, Professor Roland Paxton from Heriot-Watt University will be presenting a talk on the design and construction of the Bell Rock Lighthouse. “Professor Paxton’s talk has proved very popular,” added Janet. “All the seats have been reserved, which shows just how fascinated people are by the Bell Rock Lighthouse.”
For more information about the Year of the Light or to download the programme of special events taking place in Arbroath this year to mark the 200th anniversary of the completion of the Bell Rock Lighthouse, visit www.angusahead.com/bellrocklighthouse.