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‘We’re bidding to win’

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By Charles Fletcher
Dumfries and West
‘We’re bidding to win’

DUMFRIES has formally launched its bid to become the first city of Scotland.

The move is described as “immense” for the whole of Dumfries and Galloway.

Dumfries businessman Mark Jardine said he believed securing city status would “reward the forgotten region”.

“This will do for us what city status did for Inverness,” he told The Courier.

“Inverness has become the established gateway to the Highlands.

“City status for Dumfries will transform Dumfries and Galloway into the gateway to Scotland and Ireland.”

The provost of Dumfries, Councillor Tracey Little, said this week is the culmination of years of hard work.

“It is a no-brainer that we should bid and we are bidding to win.”

If the Dumfries bid, named Queen of the South, is successful it would see the town become the first city in the south of Scotland and the first rural city in the country.

The provost said: “This is a community-led bid with the aim of bringing benefits to the whole of Dumfries and Galloway.

“Giving us city status would lead to new investment, more jobs, more opportunities for our young people and really put the area on the map across the UK and beyond.”

The Queen has agreed there should be a competition for city status across the UK, with awards potentially being made in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

It forms part of the celebrations for her upcoming Platinum Jubilee.

For Mark Jardine, it would be the realisation of a boyhood dream

As a youngster, he was always told to get his head out of the clouds and when he was in school, to stop staring out of the window.

He revealed to The Courier he was a big fan of Peter Pan and dreamt of the Queen of the South, Dumfries, becoming a city.

“I always thought there should be a Queen of the South City and a King of the North City.

“It is now in reach for Dumfries.”

City status is regarded by supporters as an attractive pull for investors and job creation.

The continuing pandemic has made people think more about where they work, claimed Mr Jardine, and the award is going to make all of Dumfries and Galloway more attractive.

To detractors, the city status bid is a distraction, but it has never deflected Mark Jardine’s drive or ambition.

“Never. I’ve never considered walking away from it.

“We have something huge to offer here,” he said. “We are the home of Bruce, Burns, Barrie and Calvin Harris.”

Dumfries was awarded its status as a Royal Burgh in 1186.

Mr Jardine said: “That was then and this is now. It’s time to become a city.

“We can afford to punch big and now is the time to shout about Dumfries.”

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