Two north-east councils are considering a joint bid to host the 2022 Armed Forces Day national event in a move hoped to bring “millions” of pounds to the region’s economy.
Observed on the last Saturday of every June, the annual show of support for those who risk everything to serve their country is celebrated across the UK, but each year it is centred in one area.
As the national event has not been hosted in Scotland since 2014 – when the primary celebrations took place in Stirling – the West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie believes now is the time to push for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to host it.
The Conservative MP has written to both councils, local armed forces branches and tourism groups asking for backing for both the city and shire councils to launch a joint bid for the event.
Mr Bowie said: “Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have strong ties to the armed forces and a proud history of supporting them.
“Combined with the Royal Family’s close links to both the services and Aberdeenshire, the north-east is the ideal host for 2022 — the year of Her Majesty’s platinum Jubilee.
“It’s been some time since Scotland has had the chance to celebrate its links in this way.
“As well as looking back, this is an opportunity to look forward to the next 70 years of this storied association.
“Hosts have seen their local economies boosted by millions in previous years and the media spotlight would show our towns, villages and city of Aberdeen at their most beautiful.”
Matt Fyfe, branch chairman of Legion Scotland’s Oldmachar club, which covers Aberdeen, Banff and Kincardine, said: “A lot of the veterans are old and can’t travel that far to be honest, so it would be amazing if this was held locally.
“I think Aberdeen would make a great job, along with the shire, of hosting this.
“I would certainly back it, and I believe all of our branches would back it to the hilt as well.”
Representatives from both councils expressed positivity towards Mr Bowie’s proposal.
Aberdeenshire Council leader Andy Kille called it a “very interesting idea” that he would be “keen to explore further”.
And a spokeswoman for the council added: “Marking Armed Forces Day is an important feature of our calendar and we look forward to further discussion with Mr Bowie on his proposal for 2022.”
The city council’s lord provost Barney Crockett said: “I think as a city we hold ourselves second to none in the support we give to the armed forces.
“I think it would be a great thing for the city and I’m sure there would be massive enthusiasm for it.”
Aberdeen councillor Ryan Houghton, who has served in the RAF, added: “Hosting Armed Forces Day would be an absolute honour for the city.
“Aberdeen has a long and proud history with different branches of the armed services, and a very large veteran community.
“It’s even more important given the struggles everyone has gone through to look at the national events we could bring to the city and something like this would really be something to be proud of.”