Three towns win city status for Diamond Jubilee
Published: 14th Mar 2012 11:15:35
Chelmsford, Perth and St Asaph are to gain 'city status' to mark this year's Diamond Jubilee.
The towns beat off competition from 22 others across the UK to win the "civic honours" accolade.
The awards were granted by The Queen under the royal prerogative, following advice from ministers.
Events to mark The Queen's 60 years on the throne began last month and come to a head with four days of celebration in the first weekend of June.
The grant of city status is purely honorific and confers no additional powers, functions or funding.
Local authorities were invited last year to submit bids for their towns to take on city status in a process overseen by the deputy prime minister's office.
The winners are Chelmsford in Essex, Perth in Perthshire and St Asaph in Denbighshire.
Only one title was expected to be awarded but the government said the awards to towns in England, Scotland and Wales were made "in recognition of the significance of every part of the UK" in Jubilee year, as well as the "high quality" of the bids submitted.
Chelmsford, home to Essex County cricket team and Anglia Ruskin University, is one of the fast-growing towns in the south-east of England.
The leader of Chelmsford Council, Roy Whitehead, said he was delighted with the announcement, which he called a "tremendous honour".
I hope the competition has given the residents of all the places which applied a sense of civic pride”
Perth, on the banks of the River Tay, is the largest town in Scotland and its residents include Harry Potter author JK Rowling. It will become Scotland's seventh city.
Pete Wishart, the SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire, said the award was "fantastic news".
St Asaph, which has a population of about 3,500, will become one of the smallest cities in the UK.
It is one of the few towns in the UK with a cathedral never to have had city status and it also played an important role in the history of the Welsh language. The priest who translated the bible into Welsh, William Morgan, later became the bishop of St Asaph.
In recent times, it is more popularly known as the birthplace of Liverpool striker Ian Rush.
The current Bishop of St Asaph, Rt Rev Dr Gregory Cameron, said he was pleased "these decisions are made not on the size of the population but on the quality of community life".
St Asaph was chosen ahead of Wrexham, a much larger town in north Wales.
The other unsuccessful towns which entered the 2012 contest were: Bolton, Bournemouth, Colchester, Coleraine, Corby, Craigavon, Croydon, Doncaster, Dorchester, Dudley, Gateshead, Goole, Luton, Medway, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Reading, Southend, St Austell, Stockport and Tower Hamlets.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the three towns had won out from an "exceptional" field of entrants.
"I have been moved by the pride and passion which people have shown in putting their nominations forward," he said.
"The standard of application was very high and those who missed out should not be downhearted. I hope the competition has given the residents of all the places which applied a sense of civic pride, of collective ownership and community spirit."
There are currently 66 cities in the UK. City status is rarely granted, with only 14 new cities created during the 20th century.
In the last contest - held in 2002 for the Queen's Golden Jubilee - Preston, Newry, Lisburn and Newport were among the winners. In 2000, Brighton and Hove, Inverness and Wolverhampton were given the status to mark the new millennium.
The government also announced on Wednesday that the right to use the title of Lord Mayor will be bestowed on the city of Armagh in Northern Ireland. It was chosen ahead of 11 other cities.
Do you live in Chelmsford, Perth, St Asaph or Armagh? What do you think of the accolades which have been granted? What do you think are the area's highlights? Send us your comments and pictures.
Send your pictures and videos to firstname.lastname@example.org or text them to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (International). If you have a large file you can upload here.
Read the terms and conditions
If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.
Terms and conditions
At 23:35:48 in WorldA young girl offered US First Lady Michelle Obama her father's CV during questions at the White House's Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.
At 23:12:26 in SportFormula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone made his first appearance in a Munich court on Thursday, accused of giving a £27.5m ($45m, 33m euros) bribe to a German banker.
At 22:51:02 in EntertainmentA village museum in East Sussex will go up against Tate Britain and the new £35m Mary Rose Museum in a contest to be named the UK's museum of the year.
At 22:42:55 in BusinessBarclays agreed to a $280m (£167m) settlement with the US Federal Housing and Finance Authority (FHFA).
At 22:30:17 in EnglandThe government says it is making "urgent inquiries" into reports Whitehall computers were used to make insulting comments about the Hillsborough disaster.
At 22:22:33 in HeadlinesRussia and the US have accused each other of failing to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine after Kiev launched raids on pro-Moscow separatists.
At 22:19:49 in SportWorld number one Rafael Nadal booked his place in the quarter-finals of the Barcelona Open with a 6-3 6-3 win over Croatian Ivan Dodig.
At 22:13:15 in SportFormer Rangers, Hearts and Scotland defender Sandy Jardine has died at the age of 65.
At 22:00:20 in PoliticsThe zero-hours contract - alongside the payday loan and the bad bank - has gained a kind of totemic significance in the public imagination.
At 22:00:03 in ScotlandScottish independence would leave working people north and south of the border worse off, Ed Miliband has claimed.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Three towns win city status for Diamond Jubilee [Online] (Updated 14th Mar 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1416324/Three-towns-win-city-status-for-Diamond-Jubilee [Accessed 25th Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
A 15 year-old girl has been cut free after becoming trapped in a children's swing in a park in Denbighshire.
Skin grown in the laboratory can replace animals in drug and cosmetics testing, UK scientists say.
Internet retailer Amazon reported a 32% jump in profits to $108m (£64m) in the first quarter of 2014.
A young girl offered US First Lady Michelle Obama her father's CV during questions at the White House's Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.
Barclays agreed to a $280m (£167m) settlement with the US Federal Housing and Finance Authority (FHFA).
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com