Sun sets on fantastic Year of the Light

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THE LAST rays are shining from the Year of the Light as it is brought to a close.

Throughout 2011 Arbroath has been celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Bell Rock lighthouse, with events such as a bumper fireworks display and even a visit to the Signal Tower Museum from The Princess Royal, has helped mark the bicentenary.

A steering committee was formed prior to the celebrations to ensure everybody could join in celebrating the landmark anniversary of the lighthouse.

Local businessman Harry Simpson was chair of the committee and he is delighted with how the year has gone.

He said: “From day one, the Year of the Light cast a rosy glow over our town.

“Thanks to the sterling efforts of everyone involved, Arbroath has been given a real boost, the community has enjoyed a year of highly memorable events, and the town has received global recognition for its close links to the Bell Rock Lighthouse.

“In fact, judging by the clamour for tickets to Professor Paxton’s lecture about the construction of the Bell Rock, the high numbers of people sailing to the Bell Rock in its 200th year and the fabulous turnouts at various associated events, the Year of the Light must have triggered a mini tourist boom in Angus.”

“The local people who make up the steering committee come from all walks of life but share one passion – Arbroath. They worked tirelessly and selflessly in the lead up to and during the Year of the Light to ensure everything went smoothly.”

Among other events that marked the bicentenary of the Bell Rock were country dancing around the lighthouse and a new pipes piece being written for the occasion.

A range of commemorative items have also been on sale and headline sponsor Wetherspoons supported the year from the beginning.

Councillor Jim Millar was also closely involved in the Year of the Light from the start.

And he added: “I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work in making the Year of the Light such a success. It could not have happened without them.

“The Year of the Light has been a real triumph for Arbroath.

“It’s attracted attention from across the world, with many, many people taking a keen interest in our rich maritime heritage as a direct result of the celebrations marking the bicentenary of the completion of the Bell Rock Lighthouse.  

“Looking at the success of the Year of the Light, I believe that the investment Angus Council has made, including £500,000 spent on the Signal Tower, and grants awarded to various local organisations means that we will reap the benefits of cultural tourism for many years to come.”