Thousands of people turned out on Sunday for the celebration of the athletes, volunteers and organisers from the north-east of Scotland who helped make this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games such a success. They lined Castlegate, Union Street and Golden Square in Aberdeen, gathered en masse in Westhill and braved the rain showers at Haddo Park. The event, organised by Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council, took place on Sunday, September 16.
Following a private breakfast reception at the Town House in Aberdeen, the public event began at the Castlegate where people had a chance to see the athletes and volunteers and take photos, as they gathered at the gold post box of Katherine Grainger. Rower Katherine Grainger, canoeist Tim Baille and cyclist Neil Fachie were able to show off their gold medals. They boarded an open-topped bus which paraded through the heart of Aberdeen, visiting the post boxes painted gold in their honour. They were joined by swimmers Hannah Miley and Robbie Renwick, and Paralympic cyclist Lora Turnham.
The bus paraded down Union Street was led by the Portlethen & District Pipe Band, and be followed by dozens of Torchbearers, Games Makers and other volunteers. The bus made a detour round Golden Square to the gold post box which recognises the achievement of Paralympic cyclist Neil Fachie.
The bus made its way at normal speed to Westhill, for the next leg of the tour, at Tim Baillie’s gold post box on Westhill Drive. From there, the athletes, volunteers and Torchbearers joined other guests for a civic reception at Haddo House.
Peter Bellarby was amongst the councillors from Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire who were present at the receptions. He said:
“I was delighted to be there to pay tribute to all the athletes from the North East who took part in the games, the Grampian Police officers who went to London to help, all those volunteers who went down to London and elsewhere to help at both games and to the torchbearers.
“I talked to many of them and it is clear that it had been a thrilling experience for all of them. I hope that there will be a lasting legacy from these games in the encouragement it gives to people to enjoy a more active lifestyle and to participate in sport. It can only be good for health and contribute to the enjoyment of life. The Paralympic Games, in particular, has a very powerful message to those with a disability. Don’t let the disability stop you doing things! There is much that you can do and much enjoyment to be had.”