What people in Bangor think of new city status to mark Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

It was a big surprise on the North Down coast as Bangor was awarded city status to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Bangor is one of eight places across the UK and beyond that triumphed today (20 May) in a competition to receive civic honours.Geoff Thompson, president of Bangor’s Chamber of Commerce said: “This is a beautiful spot and on a sunny Friday, it looks even better.

“I think it’s a great honour, a great accolade that we have been given city status. It’s a great way of raising the profile of Bangor.

“The feedback has been very positive since we heard the news.

Ards and North Down Borough Council Mayor Mark Brooks said the award for the Co Down town was “extra special” due to its association with the Jubilee.

Mark Brooks said he was ‘proud’ of the new accolade Credit: Brian Lawless/PA

“I am delighted by the news of Bangor’s success in the City Status Competition,” said Councillor Brooks.

“It would be an honour for the town and people of Bangor to receive at any time but coming as part of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations makes it extra special.

“City status isn’t judged on the size of your town and isn’t dependent on having particular assets such as a cathedral, rather it’s about heritage, pride and potential.

“When putting forward the case for Bangor we found evidence of each of these in abundance.

“I would like to put on record my thanks to all those who contributed to Bangor’s application – both in terms of their words of support but more importantly in terms of their practical and ongoing work in the local area.

“Bangor has been given a great boost today and I’m extremely proud of this new and significant accolade for our borough.”

Local residents had plenty of pride for the seaside town on Friday, albeit mixed with some polite bemusement.

"Well it couldn't do us any harm" one resident told UTV, "I'm really looking forward to all the crowds coming back."

"Cities have a lot of shops to bring people in," a more sceptical Bangor local told UTV's Dan Duffy, "whereas Bangor doesn't."

The festive cheer wasn't shared by all residents, with one man saying it is "disgraceful" that city status was awarded.

"There's nothing in Bangor, only charity shops," he said.

Boats tied up at Bangor Marina Credit: Liam McBurney/PA

Bangor's pitch for city status was founded on three main pillars – heritage, heart and hope.

The bid highlighted its medieval monastic influences, Christian heritage, industrial exploits, innovation and proud naval tradition.

Bangor was the site of an early medieval monastic abbey that played a key role in the spread of Christianity throughout Ireland. Culture and technology, like writing and books, were preserved in Irish monasteries in the years following the collapse of the Roman Empire.

Due to its location at the mouth of the Belfast Lough, Bangor was a key site for the Allies during the Second World War.

In May 1944, the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces, Dwight D Eisenhower, gave a speech to 30,000 assembled troops in Bangor, shortly before ships left for Normandy and D-Day.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis welcomed the award.

“Bangor has a strong community focus and so much to offer, including its beautiful coastline, a thriving marina, and a resurgent cultural and arts sector that is drawing people from across Northern Ireland and beyond for events,” he said.

“I’m delighted that Bangor has secured city status, and this well-deserved honour will pr

ovide a further boost to tourism and to the economy, creating new opportunities for the community and recognition for the area.”

The last contest for civic honours was run 10 years ago to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The other five newly named cities are Colchester, Doncaster and Milton Keynes in England, Dunfermline in Scotland and Wrexham in Wales.