Royal visit snub for Year of the Light chairman

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THE STEERING committee responsible for helping to mark the Year of the Light say they are astonished that their chairman has been overlooked for an invitation to the Signal Tower Museum for today’s (Friday) royal visit.

The Princess Royal will be in Arbroath this afternoon to officially re-open the museum which has undergone a £425,000 revamp to coincide with the Year of the Light.

However, despite the steering committee having organised many of the events that have marked the bicentenary of the Bell Rock lighthouse, their chairman Harry Simpson has not been asked to attend the royal reception.

The only members receiving invites were the Earl of Southesk who is honourary patron of the group and David Taylor, although he will be attending in his capacity of web master of the Bell Rock website.

Ian Lamb, one of the members of the group explained: “I am astonished that for one of the highlights of the Year of the Light, the re-opening of the refurbished Signal Tower Museum by HRH Princess Anne, no invitation has been forthcoming for the chairman of the Year of the Light steering group, Harry Simpson.

“Harry was first approached by representatives of Angus Council almost three years ago. They flagged up the 200th anniversary of the Bell Rock lighthouse for 2011 and asked Harry if he could help in marking the occasion.

“Working from the start in close conjunction with the council’s own Local Community Planning Team, Harry set up the steering group and has given unstintingly of his time, effort and money ever since.

“Credit where credit is due and we should thank Councillor Jim Millar for his part in securing the substantial sum required to refurbish the Signal Tower.

“However, included in that refurbishment are a number of ideas which emanated from the Year of the Light group and I would have thought it only right that the community element responsible for one of the most successful community projects in Arbroath for some years should have been represented at one of the year’s highlights.”

However, a spokeswoman from Angus Council said: “We are looking forward to the opening of the refurbished Signal Tower Museum in Arbroath on Friday by HRH The Princess Royal. There are space restrictions within the museum, but we are pleased to welcome to the opening a number of guests from other organisations, in addition to those people directly involved with the refurbishment project.

“The invited guests include members of the Year of the Light committee, in particular its patron, the Rt. Hon. The Earl of Southesk, and Bell Rock expert Mr David Taylor, whose antecedent Captain David Taylor was involved in its construction.

“We hope that members of the public from Arbroath, Angus and beyond will enjoy visiting the museum once it re-opens to visitors on Saturday May 28.”