Year of the Light celebration is ‘fantastic’!

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THE CHAIRMAN of the Year of the Light Steering Committee this week described the Arbroath Herald’s coverage of events held so far to mark the 200th anniversary of the Bell Rock Lighthouse as “fantastic”.

Local businessman Harry Simpson stated: “As our local newspaper, the Arbroath Herald has provided wonderful coverage, telling Arbroathians about events that are to take place and publishing comprehensive reports afterwards.”

He said that everyone involved had done a fantastic job and praised the efforts of the community planning team who, he said, had worked hard to bring things to fruition.

Events have been planned in and around Arbroath to mark the 200th anniversary of the Bell Rock Lighthouse coming into service. Its construction is considered one of the world’s great feats of engineering.

The celebration opened with a fireworks display which was attended by over 5,000 people and since then things have continued to go from strength to strength.

The Princess Royal made a secret trip to the Bell Rock before hosting a special ceremony in Edinburgh to mark the anniversary, while there has been a fantastic amount of international interest in the year-long programme of events.

Local schools have also got into the spirit of things with many children organising and taking part in their own Bell Rock-themed events.

The interest from far and wide was best summed up when a couple from Brazil, who named their bar after the Bell Rock Lighthouse, travelled over 6,000 miles just to take a sightseeing trip to the landmark.

Mr Simpson continued: “The first month has been a busy time for everyone involved and the next few months are going to be just as busy.

“I am glad to see the schools and other groups getting involved in the Year of the Light. We are doing our thing and others are doing their own events which is really good to see, because it all adds to the celebrations.

“In these days of doom and gloom it’s great to get a bit of cheer and I think everything that’s happening is putting Arbroath on the map.

“The people who have been involved from day one and are involved now have done a great job making this such a success - it has been a collective effort and you couldn’t single any one person out.

“Everybody has put their time and effort into it and when you see the response we are getting, it makes all the hard work and all the hours we’ve put in, worthwhile.

“To see the faces of young and old at the fireworks display with smiles on their faces, it was really good to see that, and I don’t think I’ve heard a bad comment.”

Last night (Thursday) at Angus College, one of the UK’s most highly respected civil engineers, Professor Roland Paxton, provided a fascinating insight into the construction of the Bell Rock Lighthouse 200 years ago.

And before he took to the lectern he met catering students at the college who have created The Bell Rock Cake – a delicious 40” replica of the Bell Rock Lighthouse made from vanilla sponge, raspberry jam and icing!

The website www.bell has received hits from over 165 countries including Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Holland, Germany, Norway, Czech Republic and Brazil.

An information page about the Year of the Light was placed on www.angus in June and there have now been almost 10,000 page views with 90 per cent from UK visitors. The top five other countries were the USA, Australia, Germany, Canada and New Zealand.

Since August of last year, the Bellrock Lighthouse section homepage has appeared in the top five content pages on and in January and February became the top content page on the website.

“There has been a phenomenal number of hits on the websites,” said Mr Simpson. “Everyone has been blown away by the response.”

The programme of events includes a memorial service to those who have lost their lives on the Bell Rock over the centuries and a regatta. There will also be regular boat trips around the lighthouse and stonemasons are making replicas of its sandstone blocks.

The stones will be put on display beside the replica of the lighthouse base course to be displayed in Signal Tower Museum’s forecourt.