Bangor awarded city status to mark Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

The seaside town in Co Down is one of a record eight winners of a competition for civic honours.

David Young
Friday 20 May 2022 00:01 BST
Bangor Marina in Northern Ireland (PA)
Bangor Marina in Northern Ireland (PA) (PA Archive)

The seaside town of Bangor in Northern Ireland has been awarded city status to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Bangor is one of eight places across the UK and beyond that triumphed in a competition to receive civic honours.

Mayor Mark Brooks said the award for the Co Down town was “extra special” due to its association with the Jubilee.

Open water swimmers take an early morning dip at Brompton bay in Bangor (Liam McBurney/PA) (PA Archive)

“I am delighted by the news of Bangor’s success in the City Status Competition,” said Councillor Brooks, who is mayor of Ards and North Down Borough Council.

“It would be an honour for the town and people of Bangor to receive at any time but coming as part of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations makes it extra special.

“City status isn’t judged on the size of your town and isn’t dependent on having particular assets such as a cathedral, rather it’s about heritage, pride and potential.

“When putting forward the case for Bangor we found evidence of each of these in abundance.

“I would like to put on record my thanks to all those who contributed to Bangor’s application – both in terms of their words of support but more importantly in terms of their practical and ongoing work in the local area.

“Bangor has been given a great boost today and I’m extremely proud of this new and significant accolade for our borough.”

Its pitch for city status was founded on three main pillars – heritage, heart and hope.

The bid highlighted its medieval monastic influences, Christian heritage, industrial exploits and innovation and its proud naval tradition.

Due to its location at the mouth of the Belfast Lough, Bangor was a key site for the Allies during the Second World War.

In May 1944, the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces, Dwight D Eisenhower, gave a speech to 30,000 assembled troops in Bangor, shortly before ships left for Normandy and D-Day.

The newly named city also has significant royal links.

Boats tied up at Bangor Marina (Liam McBurney/PA) (PA Archive)

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visited Bangor Castle in 1961 and after lunching at the Royal Ulster Yacht Club that day, the Duke took part in a regatta race.

In 1903, Edward VII visited Bangor and sailed out of the harbour on the Royal Yacht with Queen Alexandra following a tour of Ireland as part of the coronation celebrations.

Bangor has also been credited with strong community spirit.

In 2018, the local council honoured health and social care staff as ‘freemen of the borough’ – the first local authority in Northern Ireland to recognise healthcare workers in such a way.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis welcomed the award.

“Bangor has a strong community focus and so much to offer, including its beautiful coastline, a thriving marina, and a resurgent cultural and arts sector that is drawing people from across Northern Ireland and beyond for events,” he said.

“I’m delighted that Bangor has secured city status, and this well-deserved honour will provide a further boost to tourism and to the economy, creating new opportunities for the community and recognition for the area.”

Eight is a record number of locations to be awarded city status in one competition.

The last contest for civic honours was run 10 years ago to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

This year was the first occasion it was open to applications from the Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories, with Stanley on the Falkland Islands and Douglas on the Isle of Man among the winners.

The other five newly named cities are Colchester, Doncaster and Milton Keynes in England, Dunfermline in Scotland and Wrexham in Wales.

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