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Joy and celebration in Fraserburgh as town marks transformation

Storyteller Bob Mitchell at Anderson House. Picture by Kami Thomson / DCT Media.
Storyteller Bob Mitchell at Anderson House. Picture by Kami Thomson / DCT Media.

Residents of Fraserburgh turned out in force to celebrate a £6.8million regeneration project hoped to bring visitors and business into the town.

The Fraserburgh 2021 project, part of the town’s regeneration strategy and action plan, culminated with a number of different events taking place.

It was officially opened by Aberdeenshire Provost Judy Whyte, who praised the way that the community has worked together throughout the regeneration process.

An exhibition of before and after images of the key projects took place in the Faithlie Centre, which was one of the first projects to be completed and was successful at the Scottish Design Awards 2020.

‘Give the town a boost’

Looking at the pictures of the changes to the town’s built heritage, local resident Bob Watt said the key word ws “regeneration” and that “it will give the town a boost”.

Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid also praised the transformation, and said: “When things are changing gradually, it’s difficult to see such dramatic effect, so coming here today and seeing the before and after pictures really reminds us of just how much excellent work has been put into the regeneration of Fraserburgh.”

One of the projects completed during the scheme was the famous Temperance Jubilee Fountain, dating from 1889, which was restored and relocated to its original position in Saltoun Square during the works.

Provost of Aberdeenshire Judy Whyte, officially opened the Temperance Jubilee Fountain. Picture by Kami Thomson / DCT Media.

Mrs Whyte had the honour of filling the first water bottle, as well as being the first to drink from the renovated feature, saying “it’s lovely to see the fountain come back into use”.

She also said she was “really praised” to see the environmentally friendly recycling initiative which was launched, with refillable water bottles being given out to people to fill and reuse.

Fraserburgh local Jean Strachan who was at the unveiling of the fountain hopes that the town’s makeover will “hopefully bring the visitors in” and “clears it up a bit”.

Statue unveiling

Elsewhere, the unveiling of Thomas Blake Glover‘s statue, which was designed by artist Kenny Hunter took place in the new Glover Garden.

Maxine Mennie, who officially opened the garden at Thomas Blake Glover’s birthplace, unveiled the statue of Glover as a child with Councillor Doreen Mair. Picture by Kami Thomson / DCT Media.

It his hoped that the tribute to one of the Broch’s most famous sons, which is located on Commerce Street, will encourage more people to visit the town.

Throughout the day, storytellers dressed in the character of historical figures from Fraserburgh helped to bring the past to life, with crowds gathering round them to hear their tails.

Regeneration efforts praised

It is not just the people of Fraserburgh that are impressed with the area’s regeneration. It has gained praise on a national scale, with the town renewal heritage project recently winning an award for planning excellence from the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Projects that were praised included the Faithlie Centre, shopfront transformations, the Mausoleum, as well as the Clydesdale Bank.

Crowds gathered at the Temperance Jubilee Fountain. Picture by Kami Thomson / DCT Media.

Commenting Mrs Whyte said: “I think it’s really important to preserve the history and to be able to celebrate the past, because the buildings are beautiful and to see them come back to life and for them to be able to be used for modern purposes, it really has repurposed them and given businesses a real boost.

“I can see that there’s new businesses opened up in the town and it really makes it an attractive place for the community, but also for visitors who are flocking here now.”

‘Transformation of the town has been wonderful’

Fraserburgh councillor Doreen Mair said she was “so chuffed” with the day’s events, adding:

“To see five years of really hard work by so many people, the community, the businesses, the council, the local councillors, former councilors, it’s just absolutely amazing.

“The transformation of the town has been wonderful and the feel of the town is so much better, it’s so much more positive and it looks so much better. People want to come here and open businesses, it’s just been absolutely transformational. The buildings being changed has been the catalyst for it all I think.”

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