Dumfries has launched a bid to become Scotland’s most southerly city as towns across the UK make their case to be awarded the elevated status.
Towns across the country are making their cases to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Civic Awards, which will next year announce new cities in the UK, and Dumfries on Friday launched its bid to be crowned “Queen of the South”.
Dumfries provost Tracey Little, who is leading the bid for the town to be elevated to a city, said: “This is a rare opportunity to showcase Dumfries – and the wider region – and show our ambition to grow and develop. We are absolutely in this to win it.”
In 2012, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, Perth was awarded city status in Scotland, as were Chelmsford in England, and St Asaph in Wales.
If Dumfries wins city status, it will join Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth as one of Scotland’s cities and, if awarded, would see the town become the first city in the south of Scotland and the first rural city in the country.
Mark Jardine, of the People’s Project, has campaigned to get city status for Dumfries for more than 20 years.
“It was a dream of mine as a child,” he said.
“Since Inverness achieved city status, the whole of the Highland region has gone from strength to strength.
“I firmly believe that Dumfries and Galloway could do likewise. As ‘Queen of the South’, we really would be the first city in Scotland,” he said.
Dumfries has been home to many famous faces, including Peter Pan author James Matthew Barrie, Formula One driver David Coulthard, and DJ Calvin Harris.
But its most famous former resident is Robert Burns, who spent his final years in Dumfries.
The provost said: “This will be 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.”
Youngsters from schools in the area have also got behind the campaign.
Craig Adams, 16, a sixth-year student at Dumfries High School, said “it would be amazing if we won this competition and get this incredible honour from the Queen”.
Fellow student Abi Kelly, 17, said: “It would be great for the area and would create new jobs and training opportunities for young people as more companies would want to move to Dumfries.”
Other Scottish towns are expected to submit bids to become cities ahead of the December 8 deadline.