Abbey group calls it a day

Harry Ritchie (left) of the Arbroath Abbey World Heritage Campaign donated a cheque for ?149 to Geoff Bray repreesenting Arbroath Abbey Timethemes on Monday.
Harry Ritchie (left) of the Arbroath Abbey World Heritage Campaign donated a cheque for ?149 to Geoff Bray repreesenting Arbroath Abbey Timethemes on Monday.

MEMBERS of the committee which worked tirelessly to get Arbroath Abbey recognised as a World Heritage site have decided to wind up the group.

The Arbroath Abbey World Heritage Campaign had worked to try and get the location of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath on Westminster’s tentative list of UNESCO sites.

However, in March of this year, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport overlooked the Abbey in favour of recommending other Scottish sites for world heritage status which included the Forth Bridge.

And as it will be 2021 before sites can be submitted again for consideration, the committee have decided to disband.

Harry Ritchie, vice chairman and treasurer of the committee said he wanted to thank everybody who had helped their campaign and hopes one day the Abbey will get its recognition.

He said: “I personally would like to thank the members of our committee for their valiant efforts over the past six years and also to the vast numbers of members of the public, companies, associations and groups.

“A special thank you must go to the Arbroath Herald who diligently reported all events relating to our campaign, giving us encouragement and keeping the inhabitants of our town well informed.

“As no further sites can be submitted until the year 2021, it will extend past the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath.

“I hope that one day our ‘declaration’ together with our Abbey will get the world recognition they so rightly deserve.”

As there were funds left over from the committee, it was decided that these should be donated to Arbroath Abbey Timethemes and on Monday a cheque was handed over to president of the group Geoff Bray.

And he said the donation would be used to spread the word of the Declaration of Arbroath.

Mr Bray added: “We are pleased to have been chosen as the beneficiary from an organisation whose aims had been very much in parallel to ours, with one important aspect in common – Arbroath Abbey.

“However, it was considered not to be the best way to profit through the misfortune of another.

“In 10 years time, when another campaign can be mounted to have UNESCO recognise our Abbey as a Heritage site, success will hopefully be achieved by those who take up the fight.

“In the meantime, this donation will be put to good use in updating costumes and equipment in order to bring a better realism to our enactments of ‘The Declaration of Arbroath’ and our work in bringing live history to schools, places of interest and the community in general.”