Abbey available again for weddings

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PEOPLE who wish to declare their love at Arbroath Abbey can now do so again.

There was widespread condemnation in July when the Arbroath Herald revealed that wedding ceremonies had been scrapped by custodians Historic Scotland.

MSP Graeme Dey and the Arbroath Abbey Action Group (AAAG) vowed to fight the decision and Mr Dey wrote to Historic Scotland seeking clarification.

And their efforts have been rewarded with the body revealing in a letter to AAAG chairman Harry Ritchie that they had reversed their decision.

Mr Ritchie told the Herald: “The Arbroath Abbey Action Group has received written confirmation that Historic Scotland has reversed their decision and will now allow weddings to take place at Arbroath Abbey for a trial period from April 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014.”

In a letter to the Action Group, Ian Walford, acting chief executive of Historic Scotland wrote: “I am pleased to confirm that, on the basis of the proposals outlined in your letter and your group’s offer to help promote and publicise the Abbey as a venue, Historic Scotland is willing to trial ceremonies again at the Abbey.”

Mr Ritchie is delighted that the Group’s efforts have been successful. He commented: “I have spoken with Kari Coghill, head of business development at Historic Scotland, whose department is now designing a leaflet detailing the various facilities available for weddings, and or, wedding photographic opportunities at Arbroath Abbey.

“Once these are available AAAG will carry out their part in distributing the leaflets to wedding and associated outlets, as well as informing our ex-pat contacts in U.S.A., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.”

Mr Dey added: “Historic Scotland’s decision is a very welcome one and the Action Group will do everything it can to spread the word about access to the Abbey for wedding ceremonies.

“However, ultimately it will be demand which determines whether this is a year’s reprieve or a permanent return of the facility so I’d encourage anyone interested in having their wedding at the Abbey to get in touch with Historic Scotland.”

There was optimism that the decision would be reversed after a meeting between Mr Dey, Mr Ritchie and Mr Walford.

And it now appears that if people use the opportunity to get married at the landmark, most famous for the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, then it will be retained.