A YEAR unlike any other has “reaffirmed” Perth and Kinross’s place on the inter-national stage, Provost Liz Grant believes.
In a Christmas message to readers of The Courier, she said the gaze of the world fell upon the entire region during 2014.
Sporting successes have led the way for much of the celebrations over the past 12 months, but culture and remembrance have also played their part.
“The first big highlight of the year was St Johnstone winning the Scottish Cup for the first time by defeating Dundee United in the final at Hampden Park on May 16,” the provost said.
“It was my pleasure to host the team’s special victory celebration through the streets of Perth, where some 22,000 people welcomed it home.
“Two weeks later, we welcomed the Earl and Countess of Strathearn for their first visit to the area, much to the delight of all who gathered to greet them.
“From the council’s point of view, it was a massive planning and logistical exercise, which ran concurrently with our preparations for the Queen’s Baton relay which was due to pass through the local area virtually on the heels of the royal visit.”
The provost was once again full of praise for T in the Park, whose final festival gathering at Balado won organisers another slew of awards.
She was also delighted by the impact the Commonwealth Games had upon not only Glasgow, but Scotland as a whole.
“When I first heard that Glasgow had been successful in their bid to host the games, I knew we had a winner on our hands,” she said.
“The games were a memorable experience for competitors and spectators alike and, of course, a sporting spectacle enjoyed around the world.
“Hardly had the excitement of the games settled than we were once again experiencing an adrenaline rush in anticipation of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and, for the first time, the Junior Ryder Cup in Blairgowrie.
“This was the first time that both events had been held not just in the same year, but in the same country.
“The experiment was so successful that I understand that the European tour is keen to adopt this model for future events.”
Recent weeks have seen thousands descend upon Perth city centre once again for Winter Festival events, including a hugely successful Christmas lights switch-on weekend featuring Peter Andre and Bony M.
The St Andrew’s Day Festival soon after also proved popular and was attended by nearly 16,000 people.
Councillor Grant added: “This is only a snapshot of our year in Perth and Kinross but I think it gives a sense of the increasing vibrancy our area is experiencing.”